Manchester United made huge movements in the right direction during Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge, but the Dutchman is facing a crucial summer in his attempt to turn the Red Devils into a title winning side again. He has already added Memphis Depay and there are a few other areas he needs to strengthen in order to place his side up with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. The club also need to remove the deadwood which Van Gaal identifies in the squad and one player could find himself among departures and that is Robin van Persie.
Many expected Van Gaal to arrive and get the best out of the mercurial Dutch forward with the pair’s high five at the World Cup being one of the iconic moments of the tournament and it’s a certainty that many were expecting to earn betting bonuses last season as he was expected to shine. The former Arsenal striker struggled in his second campaign at Old Trafford but the appointment of Van Gaal was supposed to see Van Persie return to his best, but he continued to struggle.
He only managed to score ten times in 27 league appearances which isn’t good enough for a striker considered world class only 24 months ago. The Dutchman was the last big name signing of the Sir Alex Ferguson era and it was one that went against the typical signing made by Manchester United as Van Persie was approaching his thirties. Looking back, it was clear that he was signed by Ferguson as he knew it would be his final season at the helm and he wanted to finish on a high. The Dutchman did provide the goals to bring the league title to Old Trafford, but under normal circumstances it is unlikely that he would have been pursued by Manchester United.
Last season Manchester United had a strikeforce of Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Falcao, all of whom are experienced and it could be that Van Gaal has identified that area as one that requires a fresh look. Rooney is going to remain as club captain and he showed he still has lots to offer, but both Falcao and Van Persie struggled with fitness and form making them surplus to requirements at the club. The potential of James Wilson may also be another reason for Van Gaal selling his compatriot as the youngster is looking like a player who will thrive when given more time on the pitch.
In recent days, Van Persie has been linked with a move to Serie A with Roma and Juventus interested. It is a league that will suit Van Persie as the game is played a slower pace and older players often do well in Italy. That was highlighted this season as Luca Toni jointly won the golden boot at the ripe age of 38. It may also help his fitness issues as he won’t be required to play at full intensity every match. It’s easy to see the attraction for the Italian sides as the 31 year old brings star quality and a winning mentality. Serie A is on the rise after Juventus reached the Champions League final and Van Persie arriving in the league will make a statement.
Both Manchester United and Van Persie have benefited from the Dutchman’s move in 2012, but it might be time to part ways with Manchester United building a fresh squad and the Dutchman needing to be playing regular first team football.