The moment he was unveiled as the new striker at Manchester United, the intent of the club, but more importantly of one Sir Alex Ferguson was made abundantly clear.
It was made clear with the number on the shirt he was to wear for the season ahead – the number 20. It didn’t take an idiot at the time to see the intention – it was clear.
We want title number 20, it was ours to lose, we lost it, now with this young whippersnapper’s help – we will get it next year, and he will be pivotal.
I’ve said it before. Van Persie didn’t win the title on his own, there was that young fella, Giggs – he helped, one for the future perhaps.
As did Chicharito, Rooney, Rafael, Jones and Wellbeck. De Gea hasn’t always covered himself in glory but put someone in at the deep end and they will either sink or swim, arguably it looked as though he might go under but he’s more than treading water now.
So congratulations to Manchester United, not only was their intent there from the beginning but they had the conviction to exact and honour that intent, they hungered after number 20 and they found it waiting for them last night at a more than welcoming Old Trafford.
It was fitting that the number 20 scored the hat trick that vindicated the intent that belied the number on the back of his shirt. It was no coincidence that Rio Ferdinand made sure to pose beside RVP and show the number to the mob of cameramen on the field, to those who watched at home.
How Mancini must have watched, dejected, but with at least a little abstract admiration.
RVP was the one that got away, the one he failed to buy; he probably allowed his mind to wander down the road of ‘might have beens'
But he won’t have been able to get away from the fact that less than a year ago Sir Alex warned him that he wasn’t going anywhere, and he will have seen the statement of intent made in August, in a white sewn number 20, on a red gingham shirt.
How do you expect City to respond next season?
This was no coincidence.
image: © Doha Stadium Plus