A player for today

"For all the column inches recently devoted to the notion, it is still a stunning transfer; one which sends out the resounding message that United are not willing to wait for the future at the cost of the present."

- Steve Bartram,

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15/08/2012 23:15, Report by Steve Bartram
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Blog: How soon is now?

The new recruits embellish an attack already wonderfully varied in its composition. Van Persie brings his established gifts to a forward line containing the all-round brilliance of Wayne Rooney, the limitless potential of Danny Welbeck and the predatory prowess of Chicharito. Supplied by Kagawa, Tom Cleverley, Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young on the wings or in attacking midfield positions, losing anything on goal difference appears unlikely for the foreseeable future.

With so many interchangeable players and formations, Sir Alex may need to conduct pre-match lotteries to decide his front six, but he has now carefully assembled a squad that is arguably the finest in the Premier League in boasting top-level competition for each position (bar the absence of an obvious understudy for Patrice Evra’s left-back slot).

An intriguing subplot amid the whole van Persie saga is that, according to widespread media reports, the striker chose United over City. Sir Alex has openly admitted that he will not compete with the astronomical sums on offer across Manchester or across the Channel at Paris St Germain. Popular media chatter insists that United had advanced talks with Samir Nasri last summer and Lucas Moura this year, until money hollered and both players succumbed to the lure of the lucre.

“Van Persie is ours,” chanted the Etihad faithful during City’s win over the Gunners last December, assuming – as many did – that the Dutchman would join the Blues. Roberto Mancini was public in his praise of the player. Then, earlier this month, the Italian admitted defeat in his attempts to complete the deal, insisting van Persie would play for Arsenal or United this season.

Whereas Nasri labelled City ‘the club of the future’ after opting to join the Blues, van Persie shunned their advances. Turning down the newly-crowned champions - a club on the up with a team in its prime - is a sizeable gamble, but also one that speaks volumes for the sustained allure of United.

There is also, as strange as it sounds, an element of venture on United's part. The squad's striking department was already well stocked and, while the player is arriving at the peak of his powers, in football terms he will grow old at Old Trafford.

Robin van Persie is an investment aimed at reaping instant dividends. If those are secured, then the future -

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