By Pradyut Hande:
After weeks of conjecture and protracted negotiations, the “Flying Dutchman“, Robin van Persie finally made a move away from Arsenal to arch rivals, Manchester United. The former talismanic Arsenal skipper had a breakthrough season last year as he almost single handed steered the Gunners to a third place finish in the English Premier League (EPL). His sterling individual performances, astute leadership and ability to inspire an often floundering outfit saw him win praise from both the fans and pundits alike. Along the way, he also finished as the EPL’s top scorer with 30 goals to his credit. More importantly from his point of view, the often injury prone Striker was able to remain fit for most part of the campaign; thereby enhancing his potency and consistency.
However, after eight long years with the Gunners and barely any silverware in the closet; van Persie decided to depart for greener pastures and refused to sign a contract extension. His decision to leave may have broken many an Arsenal supporters’ hearts, but at the age of 29; perhaps at the peak of his prowess; one cannot fault the Dutchman with choosing to sign for a major club in Manchester United. Fans may decree his move as a brazen act of betrayal, but when viewed from a more calibrated lens it is most pragmatic. With United, van Persie has the opportunity to taste serious success and “shoot” for silverware in a way he never could, whilst at Arsenal. No denying the fact that the North London outfit is a great club with a wealth of talent at its disposal, but when it fails to land a single trophy in over six years; it is bound to cause a certain degree of consternation. So, if it was Cesc Fabregas who departed for FC Barcelona last year; it is van Persie and midfield engine, Alexander Song who have left the club for United and FC Barcelona respectively.
Robin van Persie’s arrival at Old Trafford spells myriad ramifications for both the player and the club at large. In van Persie, United have an out and out Striker with a versatile presence and stinging left foot. His ariel ability, eye for goal and creativity honed at Arsenal will further bolster United’s offensive options. van Persie can feed off the likes of Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia and Danny Wellbeck and at the same time assist the bombarding likes of Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young (if need be). He is bound to take some time adapting to United’s formation and style of play; as was evident in their EPL 2012 season opening loss to Everton. However, his inclusive integration into the “Red Devil” fabric is also subject to his adaptability and fitness. His alliance and understanding with Wayne Rooney will also be critical to United’s fortunes this season as they hope to push for glory after a barren last season.
van Persie’s arrival may have provided an additional attacking asset but it has also put the future of upcoming Mexican star, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez into a modicum of uncertainty. After falling further down the pecking order with regards to the deployment of offensive options, Hernandez’s role may now be limited to being an “impact substitute“. However, whilst saying that, an astute Manager in the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson is sure to get the best out of him and the squad at large.
The “Flying Dutchman” certainly has the skill and potential to make a serious impact in a United jersey. Only time will tell whether he is able to seamlessly adapt to their game plan, capitalise on his rich vein of form and “strike” his way to glory or metamorphose into an ineffectual, underperforming, big money purchase (a blonde haired Striker in Blue springs to mind!). At the other end of the rainbow, it will also be intriguing to watch Arsenal come to terms with his loss and rebuild yet again in their eternal hope to challenge the other heavyweights for a trophy this season. The stage is set, the players are ready…let the games begin![box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: Â The Writer is a Business student with a degree from NMIMS, Mumbai. He is presently working as a Senior Executive with a leading Public Relations firm in Mumbai. Through his writing; he attempts to address myriad issues of both domestic and global consequence, ranging from Business and Economics to Geopolitics…from Sports to Arts and Culture. He has over 200 publications to his credit in some of the leading national dailies and weekly magazines across the country. He is also a keen debater, munner, quizzer, painter and amateur freestyle rapper. His other interests include Sports, Music, Reading, Travelling and Social Entrepreneurship. For his latest postings, follow his blogÂ . To read his other posts, click here.[/box]