Paul Merson has tipped Robin van Persie to leave Manchester United this summer after stating that he'd be shocked to see the striker still playing at Old Trafford next season.
The Arsenal legend - who works as a pundit for Sky Sports - feels that the Netherlands international is now surplus to requirements for the Red Devils after another disappointing campaign at the Theatre of Dreams.
Louis van Gaal'a appointment last summer was supposed to help get the best out of Van Persie, but his struggles for fitness and form have continued during the veteran Dutch coach's debut campaign with the Premier League giants.
Looking ahead to Sunday's big derby game Merson backed Van Gaal's side to make the most of home advantage and beat their local rivals Manchester City, whose defence of the domestic title is swiftly falling by the wayside.
"If you had asked me six weeks ago I would have said that City would be the biggest banker you’d ever see in your life but I don’t see that now," he explained. "Man Utd are favourites. They’ve turned a corner. They are buying in to what the manager wants.
"Wayne Rooney is now playing up front. How did we all know his best position is a striker but it takes a manager that has worked for a national team so long?
"Robin van Persie won’t start - I think he’s surplus to requirements. I’d be shocked if he’s there at the end of the season."
Van Persie is actually expected to miss the game entirely despite returning to first-team training this week. The match has come a little too soon for the 31-year-old, who is unlikely to be risked.
Red Devils fans will be hoping they've not seen the last of the talisman, though, and still hold out hopes of him featuring again before the end of the season when - if Merson is right - he could be sold in the summer.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Robin van Persie will still be at Old Trafford next season? If he is sold, how much money should Louis van Gaal expect for his signature? Share your thoughts below...
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