Borussia Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp insists Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is the best striker he has ever seen but how exactly does the Dutchman compare to his contemporaries?
"Personally, when we played against Arsenal in London, I saw the best forward ever: Robin van Persie," said the German champions coach.
Firstly, Robin van Persie has only played one full season ever in his career – he has spent long and frequent periods of time out of the game through injury. His longest full season to date was last season for Arsenal in which he made 48 appearances in all competitions.
Coincidently, last season he picked up the PFA and PWA Players of the Year awards after notching up an outstanding 37 goals across all competitions. However, the closest to that tally he ever came before that was in the 2010/11 season and in the 2008/09 seasons when he reached 22 and 20 goals respectively.
That’s still not a bad record but van Persie’s total was almost half that in the other 5 seasons of his Arsenal career. Prior to that, at Feyenoord he managed just 22 goals across three seasons.
Obviously players improve with experience and the Dutchman is undoubtedly in the peak of his career now at Manchester United and he looks as if he could very well beat his own tally from last season. He’s surely well on his way with 21 goals in 27 appearances.
But if you look around the continent, players like Mario Gomez who scored 41 goals in 52 games for Bayern Munich last season and 39 in 45 the previous one, surely he can be considered more lethal than the United man.
What about Radamel Falcao or Edinson Cavani? The latter has scored an unbelievable 25 goals in 23 appearances for Napoli so far this season and the former has scored 22 in 20 appearances for Athletico Madrid.
Whilst it would be outrageous to deny that Robin van Persie is one of the most exceptional forwards in the last two seasons for both Arsenal and Manchester United, I can’t help but be mystified by the assertion that he is the ‘best ever’ – I don’t 100 per cent believe that he is even the best striker right now, never mind ever.
image: © wonker