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Where would Man United be without Van Persie?

As the summer transfer window drew to a close in August last year, football experts around the world came up with theories on Alex Ferguson wanting to buy Robin van Persie.

The theories cast doubt on whether Manchester United should spend the cash on RVP. There was the Dutchman’s age to be considered, his injury problems, how much United would have to shell out and where he would fit -- in a striking department already boasting of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. But most of these arguments had a common underlying theme — this move reeked of ‘desperation’.

Ferguson, more inclined to buying young players and turning them into superstars, was splashing money on a player who was about to turn 30. But five months down the line, all these theories, accusations and doubts have been put to rest with the terrific performances Van Persie has delivered in the Red shirt.

RVP — 20 goals and nine assists already. Getty Images

A recently published report by The Sun further shows just how big an impact the Dutchman has had. When Van Persie has played, United has won 17 games, drawn one and lost three with a win percentage of 81 percent (EPL). If we were to remove his personal contributions, United would have been languishing in the mid-table competing against the likes of Norwich City and West Ham having won just five games, drawn 11 and lost five, with the winning percentage dropping to a measly 23.8.

Though these stats only describe a hypothetical scenario and should be taken with a pinch of salt, there’s no denying how instrumental Van Persie has been for United. His last-minute goal last week ensured that United weren’t prematurely kicked out of the FA Cup again and his free-kick in injury time against bitter rivals Manchester City has already earned him a place in the history books of the Manchester Derby.

Seeing him play on the United frontlines, you could be forgiven to think that Van Persie has been playing there all his life. He’s settled down quickly and with 20 goals and nine assists in all competitions, suddenly the £24 million SAF paid to prise him away from the Emirates looks like the steal of the season.

No wonder Ferguson has described Van Persie as ‘the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle’ and even likened his impact to the kind the legendary Eric Cantona had when he joined the Red Devils from Leeds United.

He has brought a touch of class and maturity to the striking department and having gelled with Rooney has played a huge role in Man United being 7-points clear at the top of the league and through to the next round in the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Now all eyes will be on him when Man United take on their traditional rivals Liverpool. A match-winning performance in that match will surely earn him the tag of ‘legend’ in his very first season at Old Trafford.

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