Robin van Persie has become a world-class striker – he won the PFA and PWA Player of Year awards last season for his 37 goals in 48 appearances for Arsenal and has continued his sensation form this year for the league leaders scoring 23 goals in 32 appearances so far.
However, the Dutchman is now 29 years of age – at the very peak of his powers – it took him 8 seasons of Premier League football to get him to this level after beginning his career at Feyenoord from whom Arsene Wenger bought him for just £2.75 million in the summer of 2004 when he was just 20 years old.
Now, in his ninth season in the English top tier he is a seasoned, cultured and quality professional footballer of the highest degree of excellence. However, in his first season with the Gunners in 2004/05 he made 41 appearances and scored just 10 goals.
He made little improvement in the following two seasons scoring 11 goals and 13 goals overall. His injury problems seriously jeopardized his career and his tally didn’t improve significantly until he played his first full season free from injury, which was, ironically his last in an Arsenal shirt.
Javier Hernandez is 24 years old and is playing his third season in the Premier League for United. At 22, in his first season (2010/11) he made 45 appearances and scored 20 goals. More than double Van Persie’s tally in 2007/08 when at the same exact age he managed just 9 for the season.
Hernandez had scored 15 goals in 26 appearances so far this season for United and looks set to have his best season to date. He’s played a supporting part for United, to Van Persie leading role but has been every bit the professional – he hasn’t complained, his attitude and focus have been exactly where it should be at his age.
He wants to improve, continue his development and when he does get his opportunities, he has been clinical and done his utmost to help the team. Robin van Persie will enter the twilight of his career very soon. He likely has a maximum of five or six years at the highest level left in him if he stays fit.
But United needn’t fret or bother about it – they have the next Robin van Persie biding his time and waiting in line to become a world-class striker. Chicharito’s acquiring the technique, the tenacity, the movement and positioning and it won’t be very long before the Mexican is the main man and the aging superstar is paying his bit-part from the bench.