Keeshaanan Sundaresan feels that his beloved Manchester United have finally found a star that can be mentioned in the same breath as the Cantona's and Ronaldo's of this world
The injury fears were there. Spending so much money on a 29 year-old with a history of niggling injuries was definitely a risk. Were those risks worth the money? A clinical strike, a typical striker’s poach and a splendid headed goal epitomizes a complete striker and Sir Alex is now reaping the rewards for his decision. For now, the millions they paid for him seem to be a bargain.
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United, there hasn’t been a time where I didn't get worried when reading news about Wayne Rooney getting injured, not a single time. I used to dread reading any news about Rooney getting injured. Not to say that we are a one-man team, but the weight of expectation was certainly on his shoulders. Like it or not, he was the one United fans would look to for inspiration.
But it seems different this time around and that is due in no small part to the advent of Robin van Persie. The Dutchman’s exploits with United so far suggests one thing only – He could be a ‘perfect match’ for the Red Devils.
Over the years, Old Trafford has been accustomed to seeing goals galore from all over the pitch. From the times of Eric Cantona, the brilliant impact of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the class of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and not forgetting the dazzling performances of Ronaldo. However, Chicharito and Welbeck’s lack of experience has meant that United have always been missing an experienced forward.
Dimitar Berbatov was brought in to do the trick but he never really managed to hit top heights. The Bulgarian did show glimpses of his oozing class and sublime skills but he could not muster what was required of him the most – goals.
48 goals in 108 appearances does look decent but it’s crucial for us to understand the fact that he was consistently Mr. Inconsistent, which did not bode well with Ferguson and off he left for Fulham. But coming back to United, the void left by Ruud Van Nistelrooy was never really filled.
Chicharito’s breakthrough year was hugely impressive but it wouldn’t take a professional football pundit to point out that his dribbling skills aren’t the most convincing . Yes he was a pure goal poacher, but United needed a complete striker. Someone who would lift the team during times of despair.
The purchase of Kagawa was definitely a brilliant buy as United lacked creativity in midfield. His arrival also meant that United would have to switch their playing style because Kagawa is best played in the hole behind the main striker with Sir Alex reluctant to play two men in the middle of the park with one of them committed so far forward. At this point, the arrival of any other forward may have been seen to be unnecessary, after all United did have Welbeck and Hernandez to challenge Rooney for that coveted striking position.
But when a forward of van Persie’s caliber gets on the market, not many teams would say no to him. Fergie invited him to jump onto the United bandwagon and after a period of tensed negotiations, the mercurial Dutchman was officially a United player. Plenty of unsatisfied rants from Arsenal fans marred his opening match 15 minute cameo against Everton, but the moment van Persie netted his maiden goal against Fulham a week later, the pursuit of glory had begun.
Predictably, the Dutchman followed that up with a majestic hat-rick show that saved United off their blushes against Southampton but more importantly, he showed glimpses of what he can and will provide for the Red Devils. Alongside Rooney, Hernandez and Welbeck, Robin will provide quality. But more than that, he will provide options.
They might be still finding their feet defensively and they might be still missing that spark of creativity in midfield. But in van Persie, United have acquired a combative knight that will never cease to amaze Red Devils faithful around the world. In the long run, there will moments of trouble and despair. There will be moments where the whole team might struggle to make an impact on the pitch. Per contra, this is where van Persie will seize control and prove why he’s the perfect match for Manchester United.