It was a truly astounding moment in Manchester United’s history. How was it possible that we had signed our rivals best player and one of the most feared strikers in the world? Did we even need him?
Many fans were sceptical as to why we signed another striker when there was such an obvious gap in the middle of the park but given that we had just lost the title on goal difference, it was clearly a mistake Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t ever want to repeat. In attack, we had Wayne Rooney whose importance could never be overstated, the rising Danny Welbeck and the goalscoring supremo of Chicharito. So, did we really need him? Of course we did.
It became clear relatively quickly just how right Fergie had got this one. With injury troubles and a lack of form hampering Rooney, Van Persie came into the side and made an instant impact with his hat-trick at Southampton to signal the pure genius we had signed.
Even at £24 million for an injury 29-year-old with just a year left on his contract, the contribution Van Persie made to United’s title claim made that look like small change.
This year, Van Persie is breaking records for fun. Last month, he became Holland’s all-time top goalscorer after scoring three goals against Hungary to take his tally to 41 goals, which surpassed Patrick Kluivert’s previous record.
Not happy with that, he has now gone one further and now holds the title as the highest Dutch-scoring player in the Premier League following his goal against Fulham after a delightful through ball from Januzaj. It puts his grand total on 128.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was the man usurped this time and now has to settle for second on the list whilst former red Ruud van Nistelrooy ended his tenure at Old Trafford with 95 league goals. Van Persie’s determination to continue breaking records at the age of 30 is what makes him a remarkable player and one we are glad Fergie decided was worth the risk.
Few would have expected his impact to be so instant and important after having really only had one full season as a regular at Arsenal by the age of 28. He had the ‘injury prone’ tag that has haunted many in the footballing world but has now (touch wood) managed to shake it off.
His fitness has been good at United in times when others have struggled and his consistent run of games has given him the chance really establish himself as one of the best in the world. United fans will always be grateful for his commitment in leading us to number 20 and hope he can continue to do more of the same for years to come, starting with a couple of goals to end Arsenal’s run of form this weekend.