Alas! The summer’s most drawn out saga has come to an end. Bar a failed medical, Robin Van Persie will become a Manchester United player in the next few days. United announced last night that a deal has been agreed with Arsenal to transfer the reigning PFA Player of the Yaer and last season’s top scorer to the red half of Manchester. His move brings to three the number of players signed by United in the off-season, joining German player of the year Shinji Kagawa and prodigy Nick Powell in signing for the Red Devils. With the transfer all but complete, its time to analyze what RVP’s arrival will imply for MUFC.
First off, I’ll have to admit I was adamant against United moving for RVP. My main reason for objecting to this move was the effect his arrival would have on the younger players at the club whom much was expected from this season. Being an undroppable player, the Dutch striker would would compel us to employ a system with two strikers against the prevalent lone striker system of modern football. With RVP and Rooney up front, Shinji Kagawa would be forced to play much deeper, negating his exemplary skill and awareness which is best utilized in the final third. I argued against such deep deployment here.
Robin Van Persie’s arrival would also curtail the burgeoning career of young Danny Welbeck. As reds would know, Danny looks likely to be the first striker to break through form United’s reserves system since Mark Hughes in (1986). Welbeck formed a nice partnership with fellow Englishman Wayne Rooney last season, displacing Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov from the first eleven. After an impressive Euro 2012 outing, Welbeck seemed poised to take off. With RVP in the squad however, Danny will have to contend with much less game time which will undoubtedly hinder his progress. The less said about Javier Hernandez the better as his hitherto limited appearances will diminish even further.
Despite all these obvious reasons as to why we didn’t need to make the RVP move, its now water under the bridge and we gotta start looking at the positives. First off, RVP is a world class player and I won’t complain with the addition of such a classy player to the team. With Rooney and RVP, we have the best strike force in English football if not the whole of Europe. Last season, the two scored a combined 71 goals. Defences all over Europe will be shitting themselves at the thought of facing the two world class strikers.
What the arrival of RVP indicates is that Fergie sees the number ten as Rooney’s best position. With last season’s 34 goals from this deep lying role, its hard to argue the case against this line of thought. As such the two can strike a perfect complimentary partnership as their ideal positions do not overlap. Van Persie excelled playing the number 9 position at Arsenal and with Rooney ploughing in goals from further back, the prospect of both getting 30 goals each isn’t far feteched.
With the defensive midfield position blind to Fergie hence our defence being exposed, Van Persie’s signing adds to our already impressive attacking options making it a case of trying to outscore the opponents this season. This will be a stark contrast to the dour 1-0 scorelines we’ve been accustomed to in the last few seasons. I’m sure this is something reds will relish despite the occasional heart-in-mouth moments that accompanies the 5-3 scorelines.
In terms of the system to be played, Fergie will move or less replicate last season’s 4-4-2 and its slight variations. As noted earlier, RVP will start uptop with Rooney tucked behind him in the hole. TonyV and Nani will cover the wings with Carrick and Kagawa playing in central midfield. Carrick will sit back and build up play/ intercept possession from the opponents with Kagawa shuttling back and forth much like Scholes did with Keano behind him in that most amazing of midfield partnerships. In fact, the more you look at it, the more you realize the line up will resemble the treble team. After much experimenting, Fergie has taken it back to his classic system as he builds what he probably sees as his last great side. Suddenly, we have moved from slight ambivalence to wanting the season to start in excitement. Opponents should be afraid. Very afraid.
Finally, RVP’s arrival is a chance to laugh at Arsenal football
academy club and its loud fans. Since Vieira’s exit in 2005, the club/academy has seen a steady exodus of their star players in their prime. Arsenal has perfected the art of nurturing talent for the big teams to cherry pick from. Ever summer, the club’s star player (and most likely captain) leaves the club under a ‘Judas’ tag to achieve success elsewhere. What these fans fail to see is that theirs is a team that isn’t at the very top of the game and is struggling to accept this. For a team that views Champions league qualification as the barometer for a successful season, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the star player becomes ambitious and wants to win things. Its symbolic that Vieira’s departure marked the beginning of the drought that is now entering its eighth year. They have at least made the effort to secure replacements early enough ensuring the loss won’t sting as much. Curiously though, how do Arsenal allow the players to run down their contracts and find themselves in this position every summer? For a club that specializes in selling their best players, you’d half expect them to try maximize on such deals. Either the club is plain daft or in denial. With Arsene ‘I didn’t see it’ Wenger, its more likely the latter. Whatever the case, this is an apt opportunity to all point at Arsenal and laugh. All together now, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Let the games begin.