There can be cases made for quite a few players in the debate of ‘signing of the summer’, but for me there is no argument.
Yes, Michu was a snip for Swansea City at just over £2m and yes, Chelsea new boy Eden Hazard certainly looks a class act (although he did cost a small fortune – just the £32m).
However, Manchester United’s £24m capture of Robin van Persie from one-time Premier League title rivals Arsenal was a stroke of sheer genius by that wily old fox, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Both Manchester clubs were vying for the signature of the Dutch striker during the summer transfer window and I am sure there were plenty who expected him to join the blue half of Manchester.
As the champions of England and with a wage budget like no other club in the world, it would have been easy for RVP to link up with Roberto Mancini and his troops, but in his own words, he ‘listened to the little boy inside him’ and plumped for the Red Devils.
It is still too early in the season to make huge assumptions, but it undoubtedly looks like a very wise decision thus far, particularly as Mancini is still sore about it, judging by some of his recent comments in the media.
United are sitting pretty at the top of the league, coasted through to the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare and are still in the FA Cup (only by virtue of a simply world-class injury-time equaliser by the man himself, which ensured the Red Devils a replay at Old Trafford against West Ham.)
On the other hand, City are in turmoil. With unrest in the camp – Mancini and Mario Balotelli fighting in training showed as much – the manager constantly tinkering with his formation and the team already dumped out of the Champions League, I think RVP will be delighted he resisted the petro-dollars on offer at the Etihad Stadium.
There are times when players make the move to a new club and fail with the transition, but that can definitely not be said for RVP’s switch to Old Trafford.
The left-footed maestro has started exactly where he left off from last season and no-one looks capable of stopping him in his relentless pursuit of goals.
A total of 30 Premier League strikes for the Gunners in 2011/12 saw him top the division’s goalscoring charts, which is quite a feat considering the extremely average season his former club endured.
Fortunately for United fans, he has continued in that rich vein of form and notched up 20 goals in all competitions for his new side before the middle of January.
Sunday could prove to be a massive day in deciding where the Premier League trophy ends up and if it has anything to do with Van Persie, then he will finally get to taste glory after going seven seasons without silverware at the Emirates.
United take on bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford, while Manchester City travel to RVP’s old stomping ground to face an indifferent Arsenal outfit.
If Arsenal can manage to triumph over the Citizens and Van Persie and company overcome the challenge of Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side, then a ten-point gap will separate the Manchester giants – surely too much for the champions to recover from.
Having already got the winner from the penalty spot at Anfield back in September, the 29-year-old Dutch striker is clearly in the form of his life and will be relishing the opportunity to come up against the ‘Pool again.
As well as enjoying his most recent encounter against the Merseysiders, RVP also loved playing against them last season. The Gunners conceded early at Anfield thanks to a stupendous Laurent Koscielny own goal, but as he did so many times in the latter stages of his time in north London, Van Persie came to Arsene Wenger’s rescue.
A first-half strike levelled things up and then in the dying seconds he produced one of his trademark finishes when his wand of a left foot volleyed home past the helpless Pepe Reina.
With three goals in his last two appearances against Liverpool and in such blinding form, the Reds’ back four will be dreading facing Van Persie in Sunday’s clash.
I just cannot see the Dutchman failing to get on the scoresheet and he offers superb value at 7/2 to grab the first goal of the game or the same to notch the final strike, while the 17/20 that he scores at any time is lump-on material.
New customers can register here to claim a free £20 bet and sticking it on Van Persie to have his say against Liverpool should ensure a winning start to any bwin betting career.
Top bet: Van Persie to score against Liverpool @ 17/20