That headline may sound severe, to dismiss a player so loved at Manchester United in such a small space of time, but for me, I think now is the right time to say “thanks Robin, but all the best”.
There are a number of reasons behind my decision to stick my neck out. One being I feel that all those injuries (many being serious ones) are finally taking their toll on the player. Secondly, with United failing to hit the net sufficiently enough last season, it is time to clear out and get at least a couple of strikers of the ilk of a Sergio Aguero or Alexis Sanchez, guys who can guarantee you over 20 goals per season.
Many may well come back at me and say, but given a full pre-season, Van Persie can be as good as he was when he first arrived at Old Trafford? Maybe, we cannot say for definite but I accept United suffered for his exploits with Holland in the World Cup in Brazil, however, he has had plenty of time to recuperate this season yet came back towards the end of the season and lacked mobility, looking well off the pace.
You may say that Van Persie has done it time and again scoring over 25 goals per season and I accept he single headedly won United the title a couple of years back in his first season but I watched him close up and he looks a shadow of his former self. In fact, I suspect he only played the games he did for United because Louis Van Gaal was in charge and remained loyal to him. His form did not justify his selection.
United looked so much better when Robin suffered his latest ankle injury, it coincided with one of their best run of results and performances. When Rooney went up top, Mata and Herrera slotted behind him and Fellaini played, United played some of their best football of the season. It was very noticeable that the side did not miss the Dutchman.
Maybe I sound severe, but I do recognise Van Persie`s contribution to United and he will forever be up there with some of the great strikers that have graced the Theatre of Dreams.
Robin van Persie celebrating with Sir Alex Ferguson. [Reuters]
In his first season he was electric, so fast, anticipating crosses and passes, linking up well with Wayne Rooney not to mention scoring for fun. Some of his goals were top drawer and he clearly felt at home at United especially under Sir Alex Ferguson`s reign. Sadly, for whatever reason, but probably due to injury he has failed to reach those dizzy heights.
If United are to challenge for the title, have a decent run in Europe and, or, win a trophy, then they need to score more goals. That is a collective responsibility, the whole team needs to chip in, but you look to your strikers and at United expect over 20 goals from them. It is criminal that it took 20 years for a striker at Old Trafford to score 20 goals in a season, George Best did it in 1967 and Brian McClair did it in his first season in 1987. Sentiment has to go out of the window if United are to progress further under Van Gaal.
Van Persie has already stated that his United future is uncertain with just over a year left on his current contract. He wants to play regular football as he is only 31 and with the European championships coming up next summer, he clearly expects himself to be going to that tournament, but he is realistic in that he may not be a United player in that competition.
I would love nothing more than for him to return to the player he was but I fear that he will be one of those players that retires early. Some go on forever like Giggs, Beckham and Pirlo but they never suffered the type of injuries Van Persie has. You have to be ruthless as a manager, sentiment gets you nowhere and Van Gaal will, I am sure make his mark on the squad. We cannot carry any passengers whether fans favourites or not and this is why, it is time to say thank you Robin, but we need to find the next and younger Van Persie.