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Van Persie signing is a landmark moment for Man Utd

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Phil McNulty | 11:14 UK time, Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has made an exception to his rule for an exceptional talent. Manchester United's manager has moved away from his zealous investment in the younger market to sign Robin van Persie.

Ferguson's transfer mantra in recent seasons has been "value" - so it is a measure of the size of the statement he and United want to make that he is prepared to pay £24m plus a lavish salary for Arsenal's 29-year-old double footballer of the year.

For Arsenal, there will be injury at seeing their leader and main attacking threat leave. There is the added insult that after questioning their direction and ambition he has chosen to be the first player to switch from the Gunners to United since Viv Anderson in 1987.

Emotions among the followers of these fierce rivals will be in sharp contrast today. Old Trafford will be floating on clouds of renewed optimism after a signing that sends out a series of threatening signals while Arsenal's fans will bemoan the loss of another pivotal figure after losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer.

So what are the ramifications of Van Persie's impending switch for the club he is joining and the one he is leaving behind?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will find it difficult to paint a pleasant picture after losing a player of such significance and influence. Despite the hopeful noises of one last season - and even the possibility of a new contract - Van Persie's career at The Emirates was dead from the moment he released what many regarded as a disrespectful statement outlining his intention to leave.

It is also a move which presents Wenger with one of his most formidable challenges. Arsenal's manager has not been able to win a trophy with Van Persie since the FA Cup in 2005 - so how difficult will he find it without him?

Robin van Persie

Arsenal fans may think Robin van Persie has turned his back on the club. Photo: Getty

And yet, despite the very obvious blow Van Persie's departure will deal to Arsenal, once the dust has settled and the pain of seeing him paraded in a Manchester United shirt has subsided, Wenger can still point to plenty of reasons for optimism.

Financially, the deal is a very good one for Arsenal. Irrespective of Van Persie's stature, to collect £24m for a player who could have walked away for nothing next summer represents sound business.

Wenger has also not waited for the Van Persie endgame to make his plans. This has been a summer with structure.

After what seemed the endless farewells for Nasri and Fabregas last summer, Wenger and Arsenal appeared slow to react and were reduced to trying to conclude a series of deals while watching the clock on transfer deadline day.

This summer Wenger has not repeated the mistake. He was making plans even before Van Persie confirmed Arsenal's worst fears by announcing he would not sign a new contract.

Germany's Lukas Podolski and France striker Olivier Giroud arrived from FC Cologne and Montpellier respectively, while the £15m acquisition of Spain's Santi Cazorla from Malaga has had most sound judges acknowledging a real coup for Wenger and Arsenal.

Wenger's confidence in his ability to renew Arsenal and finally claim that elusive trophy has never wavered, so he will point to the emerging talent of players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and hopefully the return to fitness of Jack Wilshere as further solid building blocks for an exciting future.
Thomas Vermaelen is a fine defender who commands the respect of his colleagues while Mikel Arteta brought craft and experience to midfield after his arrival from Everton.

So while no-one can dress up Van Persie's loss as good news for Arsenal or downsize the challenge now facing Wenger - especially as he has chosen Old Trafford as his next destination - cold reflection from their supporters may just leave them thinking life will go on.

For Ferguson and United, the capture of Van Persie represents a landmark moment in their own redevelopment.

Ever since Manchester City took the title in the closing seconds of last season, there has been little doubt Ferguson has been determined to send a message to the new champions, as well as anyone else looking for cracks in Old Trafford's edifice.

The signing of a player who has been arguably the Premier League's outstanding performer for the last 18 months does the job - especially as it is widely accepted that City manager Roberto Mancini would have loved to have to have added Van Persie to his own attacking riches.

It is also a signal that United can and will spend the big money on stellar stars when the moment arrives Ferguson can point at Van Persie as the flesh and blood embodiment of his insistence that owners the Glazers will support him financially when it matters, proof that his public support for the Americans is not simply lip service to his paymasters.

Ferguson will relish working with Van Persie and pairing him with Wayne Rooney - a partnership with the potential to deliver devastation on Premier League defences.

It may take time to come to fruition as Rooney occasionally does not take easily to a pairing, but they are of such quality that it is hard to see it not coming off.

England youngster Danny Welbeck may have mixed feelings on the matter having done so much to establish himself last season - but Ferguson will rotate his resources and Javier Hernandez will also come into the equation.

It should also be remembered Ferguson's greatest season, when the title, Champions League and FA Cup, was won in 1999, was done with an attacking quartet of Andrew Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

So Ferguson and United will parade the arrival of Van Persie as the day they showed the strength of their determination to fight back against the riches of Manchester City.

For Arsenal, there will be disappointment and undoubtedly a measure of bitterness. But it is also a new post-Van Persie era at The Emirates - and one with plenty to be hopeful about despite his leaving.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Enjoy your holiday Phil? ;-)

  • Comment number 2.


    Robin van Persies London apartment is on fire.

    Police suspect Arsene.

  • Comment number 3.

    Blimey a blog!

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you Robin for all the memories its been a pleasure, Arsenal will survive and grow stronger we have lost other world class players and continued the struggle. Good luck.

    Please Please Robin dont become one of those players who endless go on about Arsenal ie Cole and Nasri.

  • Comment number 5.

    Farewell Robin, could have become a legend at Arsenal but now you will have few friends in North London.

  • Comment number 6.

    Phenomenal contributions there MrBlueBurns.

    I hear news of Song being tempted away by Barcelona, I think the loss of him together with the loss of RVP could mean disaster for Arsenal.

    Podolski + Giroud = not quite RVP

    RVP and Rooney is indeed like something out of a fantasy football team!

    Oh and,

    SATURDAY! SATURDAY! nothing beats the start of a new season.

  • Comment number 7.

    Van Persie/Rooney/Welbeck/Hernandez. Yes, that's an outstanding attacking quartet, and then there are the likes of Giggs, Young, Nani, Valencia, Kagawa and - yes - even Scholes to add to the mix. But in defence, questions remain unanswered, with Rio close to pension age and Vidic possibly not at his best until half the season has gone. Injuries abound across that back line. Is Evra still up to it?

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm not going to be one of the fans who turns on RVP and calls him a turncoat, or traitor.

    He was a massive boon for us last season, and we'd have most likely ended up further down the table than 3rd.

    24m for a 29 year old, with one year left on his contract, who has publicly stated he wants to leave and doesn't agree with the vision/ambitions of the club, is very good business.

    Obviously, I'd have preferred him going to a non-English club and his departure (to Manchester United) does hurt .... but life goes on.

    Arsene has made some good signings - experienced players, of real quality, who'll be able to hit the ground running - and we do seem to have strength in depth. An abundance of attacking options and a quality midfield, fills me with confidence .... if he signs up a quality defensive midfielder and a defender, the pain of losing our talismaic captain will definitely be assuaged.

    Once again, I am behind my team and the manager and I'll wait to see how things work out, before I start voicing my dissent about the direction we're going (or not going)

  • Comment number 9.

    #6 TeniPurist

    Phenomenal contributions there MrBlueBurns.
    I thank you.

    Haven't read the blog yet but I think what Arsenal may lose is less than what Man U may gain.

    I think Arsenal will do well to reach 3rd this season.

    I think the league will be between the Manchester teams.

    Most other things are probably business as usual.

  • Comment number 10.

    I went to bed with a smile on my face, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. If turns out to be half as good as the last two Vans we had, then it will be money well spent.

  • Comment number 11.

    RVP has failed his medical at Man United.

    Doctors say its a back problem which was caused by carrying Arsenal for the past year.


    And @9, I will bet you £1000 that Arsenal do not finish in the top 3. Above Man U, Chelsea and City? Are you barking mad sir? Or just practising wishful thinking?

  • Comment number 12.

    Where are your predictions Phil, 2 days until the season starts and no idea as to where you think the title, champions league qualification or relegation places will end up?!

  • Comment number 13.

    At £24 million, plus around £10 million a year wages, it has to be said RVP is a high risk purchase. He was fantastic last season and got Arsenal into Europe almost single handedly. However, he doesn't have a great appearance record and is injury prone.
    I view it as great business by Arsenal, forcing Ferguson to pay an extra £10 million above the value City and Juventus were willing to pay. They have bought well in the close season and they will not be too reliant on RVP in future. Overall should make for a great PL season, with City, Chelsea, utd and Arsenal all challenging.

  • Comment number 14.

    If I was Wenger I would have rather sold him to a club in Spain or Italy for £15m or let him rot on the bench for 12 months than sell to Utd.

  • Comment number 15.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 16.

    Thank God Fergie came in before Marwood made a ludicrous bid for RVP, how long did it take him to settle in at Arsenal? and did they win the premiership with him? He will just be a big cog, like Rooney in a mediocre Man Utd side, Manchester City will prevail again, but maybe this time it will be over before the last day of the season.
    Man City are far far better off with Tevez and Aguero, Mancini just doesn't know it yet!

  • Comment number 17.

    I remember AS Roma paying 30 odd million for a 32 year old Gabriel Batistuta and he fired them to the Serie A, money well spent I think and if he clicks with Rooney then this season will be mighty entertaining.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Where will this leave Berbatov?

  • Comment number 20.

    If Fergie wanted to be bold and go for it next year, I'd love to see a 3-4-1-2 formation as follows:

    ----------------------De Gea----------------------------
    ---------------Rooney----Van Persie-------------------

    Realistically though, it's going to be 4 at the back, which gives Sir Alex a really tough decision on who to put into the team. So much quality all over the pitch, and some huge squad depth too - it's looking rosy for United! Bring on Monday (and Saturday) - I've got the new season excitement!

  • Comment number 21.

    #11 KickAssAndGiggle

    You mis-read (or I poorly wrote) that.

    I'm not writing Arsenal off but I suspect that they won't do as well as last season, i.e. I do NOT think they will get as high as 3rd this season.

  • Comment number 22.

    11. At 12:25 16th Aug 2012, KickAssAndGiggle wrote:
    RVP has failed his medical at Man United.

    Doctors say its a back problem which was caused by carrying Arsenal for the past year.


    And @9, I will bet you £1000 that Arsenal do not finish in the top 3. Above Man U, Chelsea and City? Are you barking mad sir? Or just practising wishful thinking?
    definitely above chelsea, people are assuming that just because theyve paid 34m for hazard, he will be world class. cazorla is a much better player than him and cost less than half what hazard did.

  • Comment number 23.

    We signed Van Persie for £2.75m nine years ago. To get £24m in his last year of contract represents good value in my eyes, we certainly got our £2.75m worth out of him. Plus, to be fair, it was his first full season injury free season with us. It will be interesting if he can repeat that feat.

    At the end of the day, us Gooners would rather have players that want to play for the club than not.

    As Bob Wilson tweeted earlier, "The King is dead, Long live the King"

    At least Podolski can get his #10 shirt now and be the main man.

  • Comment number 24.

    The last 2 Arsenal captains have left, Walcott has still not signed a contract with 12 months left, someone is to blame for this Arsenal and if I was a season ticket holder I'd be asking who?

  • Comment number 25.

    #22 Mo

    'cazorla is a much better player than' Hazard.
    Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 26.

    Another Pre season another senior Arsenal player gone. It shows the total lack of footballing ambition Arsene and the board have. It seems business only and to make as much profit they can. But the top Arsenal players seem unwilling to do further business with the club when their contracts are due to expire. It seems now Arsene/Arsenal are just happy with Champs league qualification every season which AW proudly boast but he can never win the bloody thing. So their entry in CL will result in another exit (this will be normal for Arsenal). As for RVP is he worth £24 mil? One injury for him is money wasted for Man utd i believe as he will undoubtly be out long term. Can he work with Rooney? But on the other hand his goals as Redknapp said could win UTD the title so a 50/50 Gamble by Fergie. We'll await nexts season's results.

  • Comment number 27.

    A bit contradictory in the article by Phil, Arsenal fans will hardly bemoaning the transfer given, as Phil stated, his incendary comments meant he had no future at Arsenal.
    There is no doubt that he thought that a host of clubs would come calling after his one good season at Arsenal. However, there was no interest at all from Barca or Madrid and AC Milan didn't show.
    In that respect it looks like a marriage of convenience for Utd and the player. The Utd manager was getting pilloried for inactivity in the market and the player left with fairly limited options.
    There is no doubt that Arsenal are a far stronger unit than the team that ended the last season.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh Agnes Lass you surely cannot think that your qusrtet is any comparison to...Aguero, Tevez, Dzecko and Balottelli!! you, like Mr F are dreaming, I can't wait for the next derby game at Old Toilet.

  • Comment number 29.

    Post 5.

    Why can't Van Persie be condisered a bit of a legend at the club, just because he has left?! I am sure over the years he gave you many great memories, so why not remember that, and not boo him just because he wants to finish his career with a realistic chance of winning some medals in England.

    A lot of people will bleat on about money, and i am sure that comes into it a bit with every transfer (that is the nature of modern football).

    It is a good signing for United - the experience he will bring is invaluable, and players like Welbeck, Hernandez, Powell can only improve as players when training him.

    I am not sure what is going on at Arsenal though, allowing players to enter the last year of their contract seems a very reckless way to do business in my opinion. However, getting £20m from United is actually good business in the circumstances, and it means Arsenal keep to their rigid wage structure, and freshen up the team.

    Lets not forget it was the team of greats (RVP, Fabregas, Clichy and Nasri) that went 7 years without success......change is not always a bad thing.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am a little bitter at van Persie for going to Man Utd but I think Arsenal will be fine this season without him. At first I thought that I hope he breaks his leg in the first game but I take that back, that would just be hating on him when I really just hope that he doesn't do very well at all and I hope that he doesn't get along with his new team mates and fails and regrets not staying at Arsenal. And if Arsenal were to somehow win the league this season, which I think they will, then it would be that little bit sweeter. Arsenal only paid a couple of million pounds for him so to get 24 for him at 29 is 20 odd million worth of great business. And from what I have seen of Podolski recently and over the years, and the from Giroud has been in, and the mecurial Santi Cazorla thrown in the mix the goals will certainly be there for Arsenal. And Podolski doesn't do tippy tappy either, he is ruthless and just buries his chances so I think he may actually turn out to be better than van Persie in the EPL so all good there. I would like to see Wenger buy another striker though and try hard to sell Park and Bendtner and maybe Chamakh too and make a bid for some big name like oh I don't know....Neymar ? I know,...pipe dreams but at the very least, Arsenal have reason to be optomistic this season and that is a nice change I must say.

  • Comment number 31.

    MUFC need a midfielder not a striker. Not going to beat the best teams in the world with players like Anderson. £24mil is also a waste, especially putting him on a 4 year deal! They should have gone for Modric, even at £35mil.

    @5 Sure RVP would rather be remembered as a winner than the best player for a team that hasn't won anything since the dawn of time. If he stays at Arsenal he will just faid away into history.

  • Comment number 32.

    From a United point of view, it's definately a coup. Yorke, Cole, Ole, Teddy. Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo, Saha. Two sets of 4 strikers, what did they have in common? Dominated the league and Europe and indeed the world. Looks like Berba will leave, Macheda out on loan leaving Rooney, RVP, Welbeck and Hernandez. Not a bad quartet at all. Added to that is Kagawa, looks a fine player. Cleverley and Anderson have both had strong pre-seasons, as has Carrick. Hopefully we won't need to rely on Giggs and Scholes. Still think we need a combative midfielder a la Owen Hargreaves. Someone to close down the opposition, I think we sit back too much. Anderson and Cleverley certainly provide energy but both aren't defensive nor should they be curtailed into such a mould all the time.
    Just leave the defence. Very odd decision to send Fabio out on loan when Evra has not been the same since the World Cup of 2010. Need defensive full back cover. At least with RB we have Rafael, Smalling and Jones. We have one left back, Fryers is going if not gone already, Blackett and Keane not quite there to be used in the first team just yet.

  • Comment number 33.

    @15 Loyalty? RVP has been with Arsenal for 8 years... With nothing to show for it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Re Comment #4 from surreygunner.

    surely you meant to say "....we have lost other world class players & continued TO struggle"

  • Comment number 35.

    How were the hols in sunny Mallorca?

    Finally glad we have something to discuss about!

    Now there are 3 separate news stories on the same subject!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Wenger sells a few good players when they're 28-29 for large amounts of money... and they're never as good again. So he knows when to sell - and 24m for RvP, with only one good season behind him and no good reason to believe that he will have another, is a very good piece of business for Arsenal.

    He has been a bit of a shrinking violet when there are others competing for the top dog spot, so with 3 others doing so an MU I expect him to go back into his shell under the pressure of expectation that will be created by his fee and wages.

    And for those who still believe the Rooney hype... please look again. Rooney is not a top striker. The Euros (and every other international competition he has played) show that. Ferguson may be preparing to 'do a Wenger' with Rooney in the next year or two.

  • Comment number 37.

    £24 million for a striker who will not repeat last season's goal tally, who is likely to be injured at some point, and who would have caused dressing room disharmony had he stayed.
    A canny bit of business by Wenger.
    What must Welbeck and Hernandez think?

  • Comment number 38.

    And so it begins...

    I can't deny this doesn't excite me (57 Prem goals together last year was it?) but I can't help thinking the money would've been better spent elsewhere...Daniele De Rossi?

    Where does this leave Berba? Chicha and Welbeck won't be too impressed either. Wenger maybe missed a trick not asking for one of the three on loan for the year...?

  • Comment number 39.

    Why are Arsenal fans so bitter. My sister in law and her "bloke" are MASSIVE GOONERS. A few weeks ago they worshiped the ground van Persie walked on, now they hate him already saying "oh its about the money". Surely this footballer doesn't need any more money. If it was about money surely he would have signed for Citeh, who incidentaly have 14% of the population in supporting them in Manchester

  • Comment number 40.

    But Arsenal are never any better either so this policy doesn't work for the club.

    Its also fairly clear that players leave Arsenal not when Wenger sees fit but when they get sick of not winning anything and ask to leave.

  • Comment number 41.

    Not sure why people are keen to talk down Arsenal - with the new signings we seem to be in a much better position than last year. Which is to say, not totally reliant on one single player.

    RVP / Rooney will be an exciting combination but doesn't really resolve the gaping hole in the middle of the Utd midfield. (Bringing back Scholes was a big sign of desperation)

    City for the title.

  • Comment number 42.

    Maybe he did? Maybe he got told to jog on? They'll all have a role to play this season I'm sure.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yet another Arsenal captain decides to leave to try to win trophies elsewhere. Please please please can they appoint Abou Diaby as the next captain.

    Life goes on, Arsenal will still be in the top four or thereabouts at the end of season. I just hope RVP does not do a Adebayor and rub our noses in it.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    31.At 12:45 16th Aug 2012, Kombre wrote:
    MUFC need a midfielder not a striker. Not going to beat the best teams in the world with players like Anderson. £24mil is also a waste, especially putting him on a 4 year deal! They should have gone for Modric, even at £35mil.

    Whilst you're right in your first statement that we need a midfielder, you're wrong on your second statement. £35m on a player that passes sideways and contributes minimal goals and assists would also equal a waste of money.

    People draw the comparisons of the great 99 team with 4 quality strikers, what they fail to realise is that we also had roy keane and nicky butt as two DMs. We currently have nobody.

  • Comment number 46.

    The RVP signing is a huge risk for United considering all the factors involved. I think Arsenal stand to benefit more from this becos they have prepared for his departure and got a huge transfer fee. On the other hand, although Arsenal will miss RVP, I think they are much stronger than they were last season. They have a history of producing goalmachines and this time, it could be Podolski who I rate very highly or Giroud. I see Arsenal finishing 3rd. Don't get me started on Chelsea because I will take Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla over Hazard, Marin and Oscar. and Drogba leaving Chelsea is a bigger factor than Van Persie leaving Arsenal

  • Comment number 47.

    As a united fan I would say things are very rosy for Arsenal.
    Look what happened when united sold Van Nistelrooy - our talisman and goal scorer supreme - we adapted and didn't rely on him and made the team stronger. The same may happen for arsenal

  • Comment number 48.

    @28 are you serious? while city do indeed have world class strikers calling ours mediocre in comparison is quite frankly wishful thinking aguero - rooney = about equal tevez - van persie = about equal this is the difference though hernandez is a lot better than dzeko and welbeck i would rather have over the liability that is balotelli anyday of the week.but it wont be as simple as that you have 2 unpredictable strikers balotelli could get sent off in any game at any time (im predicting 3 reds this season, and thats me being conservative) and tevez who went on strike for 6 months.any repeats of last season i can guarantee city wont win the league this season.but before any1 jumps on me im not saying they wont win it im saying tevez and balotelli go AWOL again and you wont no matter how good the rest of the team is

  • Comment number 49.

    Signing a 29 year old crock is hardly a fight back against the riches of Man City. More like Custers last stand ;

  • Comment number 50.

    Arsenal fans shouldn't be bitter towards RVP, if anything they should be angry with the manager and board for letting these situations happen. It's a long exodus list...Hleb, Adeybayor, Nasri, Clichy, Fabregas, RVP, Flamini. Song looks to be next and Walcott i'm guessing won't be far behind with only 12 months left on a contract.

  • Comment number 51.

    #46 rambo_chambo

    Do you think Cazorla is better than Hazard? If so, why?

  • Comment number 52.

    Good business indeed for Man United! Bet the fee will be recouped from RVP's shirts and other merchandise that will be sold within a year or 2.

  • Comment number 53.

    Looking at this from a different perspective I feel this transfer is incredibly irresponsible and indicative of the lack of sound financial management currently being exhibited in football. Manchester United are reportedly up to £500M in debt. They have floated the club on the NYSE being unable to do so in London, nor any other Global market. Half of the money raised after this flotation will be used to pay off the debt, with the other half being pocketed by the Glazers. Therefore I am flabergasted that Manchester United have decided to invest £24 Million on a 29 year old injury prone player, in the last year of his contract, whilst in enormous debt. This is the equivalent of me buying a £5 Million mansion on my teachers income with a 100% loan from the bank and then going out and buying a ferrari. We have seen the bubble burst at Rangers, and Portsmouth - a club with a fine tradition - on the verge of going under. I worry that the United bubble will eventually burst also...along with a number of other clubs who show a distinct lack of financial prudence. Therefore bask in this short term optimism United fans but remember the Glazers are ruining your club and this transfer is another example of their lack of long term financial planning.

  • Comment number 54.

    Undoubtedly Robin was our star performer last season. But if we were to look at the stats how many of those goals were match winning goals!? Were those goals all an individual performance!? No in most cases it was the build up play that lead to the scoring opportunity. That said Man Utd create bags of scoring opportunities and you can only think that Robin will enjoy converting the majority of those. So if he stays fit, Man Utd look on course for the title provided they can score more than the opposition! Domestically things look good for Man Utd, but lets see how they fare in the CL. I still think they are short of a player or two for European glory. As for Arsenal well it's back to the drawing board and hoping we don't get another 8-2 thumping at Old Trafford. But it's not all doom and gloom. We will be there or there abouts. But if we are honest we are in that second tier with Tottenham and Liverpool. The top tier being Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea

  • Comment number 55.

    I still can't understand why it's a "good piece of business" when you strengthen a bitter rival. Send him to Spain or Italy for less money. On the other hand, cannot remember a player during Wenger's tenure who looked a better player when they went someplace else. Well, maybe Yaya Toure, but he never really got a to play at Arsenal.

  • Comment number 56.

    Good deal 4 me. Arsenal still had the best piece of business xo far. Premier league has turned to la liga 2 horse race. Chelsea wud find it hard to finish top 4. Harzard is light weight xo is oscar, marin is a bench warmer at best, mata is over hyped. I only see ramirez as the treat. Torres is torres and he is not back, strurridge and lampard wud still b highes goal scorers. Xo arsenal have done enuff to b out Valencia to the Manchesters

  • Comment number 57.

    #53 goonergzh

    You have looked at it from a false perspective I think.

    Man U have acted within the law and have satisfied relevant regulations.

    You would have to lie to get what you say on a teachers income.

    I think Chelsea received twice as much as Man U did from Europe last season, the difference, lets say, being about £25m. If Man U get to the final again, it may well cover the fee.

    Think of it as an investment in a fixed asset employed in a business.

  • Comment number 58.

    @51, Yes. Cazorla is better than Hazard. Did u see that Hazard backheel? Pure theatre. and enough of all these Rooney/Van Persie devastating partnership. We all still remember that Drogba/Torres Partnership that never worked. We thought they would be devastating. City's striking options are still better than Utds.

  • Comment number 59.

    @53 so what you saying within 5-10 years we could see man united in administration like rangers,portsmouth and all that? again amazingly wishful thinking but its never gona happen i cant predict the future but i could easily see when the glazers eventually leave whether we have 100mill or 500million debt the chances are because of our history our biggest football club brand image the fanbase every other thing you could look at because of that some oil tycoon 7th richest man in the world figure will just come and wipe it all away before something ever happened to man that is a guarantee

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Great to see all the myopic comments coming in from all shades and hues of supporters again, thanks for the first blog of the season Phil. I cannot help but thinks this smacks of desperation for SAF trying to regain "his title" in his final season as Utd's boss. RVP burned his boats when his agent issued that momumentally stupid statement on his behalf on his website. You can't blame any player for trying to max his earnings as his career draws to a close and getting a big pay day out of a quite spectacular performace over the previous 18 months for the club. Arsenal had no where to go with this other than to sell, getting 24 million from the only buyer in town seems on the surface, very good business and it frees up the captaincy and the no. 10 shirt. His loss will only be able to be measured at the end of the when we see if he delivers for Utd and whether or not the 2 new Arsenal strikers step up to the plate

  • Comment number 62.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 63.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 64.

    Please Welbeck is not fit enough to lace Balotteli's boot and dzeko scored goals in bundesliga and is way better than chicharito. Although Van persie and Rooney on papar is more scary than Tevez and Aguero.

  • Comment number 65.

    I can bet £1,000 that Arsenal will still finish over Chelsea. No Drogba to bail you out of trouble, spends ridiculous amounts of money on some midgets and Ultimately, Arsene Wenger is more experienced and far far better than Di Matteo. It's the Wenger factor that puts Arsenal in the top four, not the players that are coming and going. Over the years, the lose their best players and still finish top 4. It's not down to Van Persie and Thierry Henry, it's Arsene Wenger!

  • Comment number 66.

    I still can't see the quality of van Persie overcoming the spending clout of Manchester City.
    I also feel Manchester United still need to rebuild their strength in depth in other areas such as midfield and defence.
    Manchester United still have a real sense of dependency on the old guard of players like Giggs, Scholes and Ferdinand who are all past their best years.
    Time will tell I'm sure!

  • Comment number 67.

    Whether this is a great signing for Man Utd remains to be seen. People only talk about last season but Van Persie was at Arsenal 8 seasons and in the first 6 only averaged 10 goals a season. During that time he was also very injury prone. History suggests that it's unusual for a player who has a fantastic season to do the same again whether with the same club or having moved. If he is the Van Persie of last season they will be very happy, if he goes back to his old form they have bought a very expensive pup!

  • Comment number 68.

    Looks like Alex Song is on his way to Barcelona....yet another blow to Arsenal.
    I wonder sometimes if we Gunners are not a bunch of masochists. Much as I admire Wenger as a philosopher, I suspect he is coming to the painful conclusion that Arsenal has become the most successful feeder club in the world. A club with a marvellous stadium, a positive cash flow, European competition every year and no debts. All this ably supported by a huge bunch of bewildered fans who (like me) would love to see even a Cup of Tea in the trophy room, let alone an FA Cup or one of the Premiership. I have been a supporter for most of my life and I am an old man now. Before the end, I would dearly love to see my Arsenal holding aloft a newly won trophy.

  • Comment number 69.

    #56 Pahgy Loves Manchester

    Mata's first season yielded 6 goals and 13 assists in the league. That's pretty good.

    Also, how do you know that Hazard is lightweight?

  • Comment number 70.

    53.At 13:11 16th Aug 2012, goonergzh wrote:

    Your comments would be profound if they had any real factual or general weight to them:

    "Manchester United are reportedly up to £500M in debt." - Errr no it was c.£423m which Glazers posted for the IPO.

    "They have floated the club on the NYSE being unable to do so in London, nor any other Global market." - Errr again, incorrect. They can float the club on any market they wanted to. They chose to do it on NYSE. They previously looked into HKSE but pulled out due to volatile rconomic conditions. THey nearly pulled out of NYSE for same reasons.

    "This is the equivalent of me buying a £5 Million mansion on my teachers income with a 100% loan from the bank and then going out and buying a ferrari." - You need to understand economics because it's not. The debt is serviceable, and given they make a net operating profit of approx £100m it would be paid off eventually. So it's more like buying a £5m mansion on a £1m salary and buying a ferrari.

    "I worry that the United bubble will eventually burst also" - The debt is with the Glazers, the most likely solution is if "the bubble bursts" some other rich businessmen will step in. Glazers last year turned down 2 bids of £1bn for the club because it was under the valuations.

    "along with a number of other clubs who show a distinct lack of financial prudence." - Utd have the 2nd lowest wage:income ratio and the highest profits (which have increased under the Glazers).

  • Comment number 71.

    To be honest I think it's a cracking move for van Persie who has been loyal for 7 years i agree with the guys here as United will be a real threat now they have Rooney and van Persie up front. United will move on I think Bob Wilson needs to see that we've moved on from losing our best players and we've already been busy this season buying quality internationals I expect Arsenal to remain a top four side and wish van Persie all the best at United

  • Comment number 72.

    #63 and all the other people that think this is a great signing for Man U, let me ask you this question.... how much would Man U have to pay on transfer and wages for it to be a bad signing?

    24m + 40m wages (over 4 years) for a 29year old that will soon be past his peak and additionally has a bad injury record simply cannot be a good signing. He will also be worth nothing at the end of his contract and they wont be able to sell him before then as no club will pay his wages for a player past his peak.

    In summary it will improve Man U for the short term one season if he stays fit but is a disasterously poor signing from a business and long term point of view.

  • Comment number 73.

    #39 - Shandinho

    Are you serious!? Have you ever been to Manchester? I use to work in the heart of the City and most fans that I met followed City. There were very few Utd supporters. Maine Road was next door to Moss Side! In my experience all the Utd supporters live in Surrey.

  • Comment number 74.

    United needed a play-maker. Instead, they spent £24m on RVP.
    Good business for Arsenal? Definitely.
    Good business for United? Time will show. However they've been made to spend much more than they should, being made to look desperate, while desperation should be on Arsenal, knowing that in 12 months RVP would walk for nothing.

  • Comment number 75.

    I would have thought that United would have focussed more on their defense rather than attacking options. United wont have any more money to spend really now as the club is very limited on its transfer activity due to the huge debt. Vidic could well struggle to re capture previous form after such an injury, evra looks half the player he did 3 years ago, ferdinand is on decline, Evans is just down right shocking and Rafael is great for at least one shocking mistake a game. It isnt in attack that united will win or lose the title, its in defense. City still the top team regardless of who united sign up front.

  • Comment number 76.


    So you're basing your comparison between the two players on that one backheel? If we're doing that I could probably find a trick that Messi didn't manage to pull off that proves that he's rubbish!

  • Comment number 77.

    Having spent just £2.75 on RVP and selling him for nearly ten times that is a good bit of business, especially for a player who's overall spent as much time in the treatment room as on the pitch but if Arsenal keep selling their best player every season it's difficult to see how they can challenge for any honours. Time for Wenger to head off into the sunset and get a manager prepared to spend on some decent defenders for a change, by far their weakest area.

  • Comment number 78.

    #58 rambo_chambo

    So, the double French footballer of the year is rubbish because he tried one back heel that didn't work? Crumbs, you're a task master aren't you!

    As for #65, you could argue that Wenger is a better coach than Mancini as well but that didn't do you any good last season.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am not sure about Van Persie. His scoring rate slowed in the second half of last season and he was an embarrasement to his team and himself at the Euros.
    Even if he is on form, the Man Utd midfield will not make anywhere near the number of chances he got at Arsenal or would get at Man City. It is going to be all about the midfielders this season. Man city to win the league early because of their vastly superior midfield to that of Man Utd. Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd to have a very close battle for the runner up spot.

  • Comment number 80.

    72.At 13:27 16th Aug 2012, colmkav wrote:

    24m + 40m wages (over 4 years) for a 29year old that will soon be past his peak and additionally has a bad injury record simply cannot be a good signing.

    I'm sorry, I didn't realise you thrashed out the terms of his contract and know what his wages are? Utd have a strict wage structure at the club and I would doubt that they've gone overboard. They generally try and stay within 55% of their income:wages ratio. City's is 114% at the moment.

    Also, if he scores the winner in CL final for example, or goals in CL to get us to the final and the increase in TV revenue, does he repay his investment?

    Not to mention the money from the shirt sales he should generate.

  • Comment number 81.

    73.At 13:27 16th Aug 2012, HenryNorrisDialSquare wrote:
    #39 - Shandinho

    Are you serious!? Have you ever been to Manchester? I use to work in the heart of the City and most fans that I met followed City. There were very few Utd supporters. Maine Road was next door to Moss Side! In my experience all the Utd supporters live in Surrey.

    It's about half and half. Utd fans are in the Trafford, Altrincham area, city fans from the Stockport area. Manchester uni did a study on this and there are more utd fans in the greater manchester area. There just happens to be loads nationwide as well, utd being the most popular english club in the world.

  • Comment number 82.

    Its asolid deal. Time to move on Arsenal. I think they will be fine without him.

  • Comment number 83.

    from a personal perspective, I think its a real shame RVP has signed for Man U. He spent 8 years at Arsenal and ended with a fantastic season saving Arsenal from missing the top 4. By signing for Man U he will be hated by the fans of his main club of his career. Given the change in the balance of power with the likes of Man C and Chelsea these days he may win nothing at Man U either. In many ways Arsenal may be better positioned over the next few seasons if clubs and UEFA start to respect the financial fair play rules because Arsenal are the best run club from an economic point of view.

  • Comment number 84.

    78.At 13:29 16th Aug 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    As for #65, you could argue that Wenger is a better coach than Mancini as well but that didn't do you any good last season.

    With a blank chequebook I'm sure Donald Duck would eventually manage to engineer an EPL win. The hardest task is to keep your team up there for the next season and season after etc.

    Mancini had an easy job at Inter, and has had a relatively easy job at City. When the weight of expectation is upon him, that is when he buckles.

  • Comment number 85.

    You don't sell your best player to one of your rivals.

    For me, this sale indicates that Arsenal have accepted that they are no longer challenging City, Utd & Chelsea (maybe) for the title but are instead battling Tottenham, Liverpool etc for 4th place

    Don't like to say it but Man U have just added a 30+ goals a season striker to an already good side and are now my tip for the title.

  • Comment number 86.

    83.At 13:36 16th Aug 2012, colmkav wrote:
    "Given the change in the balance of power with the likes of Man C and Chelsea these days he may win nothing at Man U either." - A power shift that occurs after one season? Dear oh dear, you have to shake your head at some of these comments.

    "In many ways Arsenal may be better positioned over the next few seasons if clubs and UEFA start to respect the financial fair play rules because Arsenal are the best run club from an economic point of view." - Arsenal's operating profits are about £40m less than man utd's. Given their lack of success on the pitch, it would be hard to understand why they are better run than man utd? Please go into detail?

  • Comment number 87.

    Good Deal for Man U. They have got last season Top Scorer who is on form. Man U would rather buy and inform RVP then the injured one for the previous years.

    Man U can only get better this coming season.

    The Facts are: 7 years and counting Mo Money but No Trophy!!

    Weep Weep.

    "In Arsene We Trust". I dont see this on this forums anymore.

  • Comment number 88.

    Van Persie to be crocked within the first month.

  • Comment number 89.

    @84, funny how last season everyone said Manchini wasn't good enough to bring the title to city and he was about to be sacked. He couldnt control his dressing room, players etc. Very few Managers would have had the management skills and strength to get City to the title last season so to say comments like yours are either narrow minded bitter comments or just lacking in knowledge. Many managers have had open check books and failed to win things, Manchini is a world class manager and proved that last season.

  • Comment number 90.

    Brilliant player who will improve Man U. Now the only real question is can he stay fit for another season? This signing should move them closer to Man City and I'm excited to see how Kagawa settles in and hopefully a strong second season from Jones who I can see finally settling in midfield. Should be a good season.

  • Comment number 91.


    Mata's first season yielded in Chelsea finishing in thier lowest league position in Abrahamovic era. I'v watched hazard play he isnt a Valencia or Nani or Messi or Tevez, he is technically gifted but still lightweight. As for mata he wz Chelsea's player of the year in thier worst league season and that to me isnt an achievement. The cup runs was all about Drogba, Lampard and Ramirez.

  • Comment number 92.

    88. Dream On You Loser

    Cant believe we have this kind of people in the real world wishing harm on another human being.

    How inhuman.

    Pathetic Loser.

    What has rvp done to you personally. He does not deserve this kind on attitudes from Arsenal fans.

    U guys should be grateful that you are in the champs league.

  • Comment number 93.

    #91 Pahgy Loves Manchester

    Lucky then that Lampard and Ramires at least are still there then.

    You think Chelsea's low league position was down to Mata then?

  • Comment number 94.

    Genius bit of business by Wenger and Arsenal F.C. Sounds incredible to pay £24 million for an injury prone 29 year old, and to give him a 4 year contract on top of it. Either Ferguson is desperate, or he's seen something in RVP that others failed to see.

    Who knows how the new season will pan out. It's all guess work at the moment. The partnership of RVP & Rooney could win the title again for United, or it could fail. What if RVP does help to return the title to Old Trafford as a one off, but then he has 3 miserable seasons to follow? What about Podolski? Wouldn't that be pure genius if he scores loads of goals at Arsenal and RVP fails? So many scenarios.

    Would love to know what exactly is happening with Berbatov. Was he ever that good at £30 odd million? He only ever seemed to score braces and hattricks against struggling sides. Anyway, like most have commented. United need to strengthen the midfield and get some cover for an ageing Ferdinand and Vidic who will need 3 months to bed in.

    1) City
    2) United
    3) Chelsea
    4) Arsenal
    5) Liverpool

    Southampton, Reading and Norwich to go down

  • Comment number 95.

    A lot of Gooners whinging here about Persie. What some gooners need to relise, it's not always the player when he leaves a club. Where the fingers need to pointed at is Wenger and the board as my similar post #26, The club now simply have no ambition on the football feild. The club is simply run as a business which Wenger seems to be managing also. Money is spent on players but in return they will be sold at profit a later season if the player is succesfull. This is the deire of the club plus the income provided via CL qualification. Does Wenger really care if Arsenal fail to win any further silverware under him? Arsenal are just a pretty team with the attration for revenue.

    I would love to see the outcome if Arsenal fail CL qualification.

  • Comment number 96.


    No sense of humour mate? Calm down dear, the comment was tongue in cheek!
    I'm no gooner btw.

  • Comment number 97.

    89.At 13:42 16th Aug 2012, willipp wrote:

    He couldn't control his own dressing room. What made it worse was the fact that the culprits were his own signings!! His poor man management of tevez for starters. Allowing balotelli chance after chance.

    "Many managers have had open check books and failed to win things, Manchini is a world class manager and proved that last season." - Name me some? World class, you obviously don't know the meaning of the phrase. Mancini managed to win the league during the weakest time for EPL. Utd had a season of injuries, arsenal also as well as losing their best players. CFC were all over the place managerially. What makes it funnier is that he won it on goal difference!! That's the first time that's happened in EPL. Despite spending £200m+ he can only manage to win on goal difference. Yeah world class.

    Stand by my comments, Donald Duck could have won. What's he done in Europe if he's so world class?

  • Comment number 98.

    Must admit looking forward to the new season, Chelsea rebuilding after CL, FA cup double, Utd and city going for each others throats, Spurs Liverpool and Arsenal enigmatic as always. Maybe someone out the pack ? Going to be hard to call, but interesting.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Xo what of Lazio? Was his job easy? Or Fiorentina? Did he have a blank cheque book? Or at inter when roma was leading with 8 points with 4 matches left? He has more trophies than wenger in a shorter career. Mancini is a great coach he did it without money and with money.

  • Comment number 100.

    I for one don't think that Robin van Persie's stats add up to him repaying the loyalty shown to him by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in particular.

    Arsenal bought van Persie for 2.75 million pounds 8 years ago and now sells him for 22 million + add ons making a cool 20 million pound profit.

    In addition, Arsenal have cleared 130K per week off their wage bill and Man Utd have added 200K per week to theirs.

    Have a look at van Persie's Premier League stats during his time at Arsenal and see who you think got the better deal Arsenal or Man Utd, and whether van Persie has shown adequate loyalty and patience with Arsenal or the other way around.

    In the Premier League:
    04/05 - 5 goals in 26 apps
    05/06 - 5 goals in 24 apps
    06/07 - 11 goals in 22 apps
    07/08 - 7 goals in 15 apps
    08/09 - 11 goals in 28 apps
    09/10 - 9 goals in 16 apps
    10/11 - 18 goals in 25 apps
    11/12 - 30 goals in 38 apps

    Seasonal Average for Arsenal over 8 seasons
    12 goals in 24.25 apps

    Robin van Persie only plays about 2/3 of the Premier League fixtures on average.

    A 20 goals a season striker ?? Hmmm.....He has only managed that only once in 8 seasons (last season) !!!


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