Despite his breathtaking quality and goal tally last term under Sir Alex Ferguson, Moyes believes the Dutch ace can and will improve in his second term with the champions.
It almost seems impossible – Van Persie was nothing short of sensation last term and even the previous season, his final term with Arsenal in 2011/12 but is there anything he could potentially improve on.
It goes without saying that having now got a season with United under his belt will boost his confidence and will have also helped him settle in and find cohesion and fluency with his teammates.
His link up play with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Michael Carrick has improved throughout the course of last season and this summer’s pre-season.
Individually, the 30-year-old striker is undoubtedly the most technically gifted finisher in the English top tier and likely the most well rounded frontman too. His left foot is nothing short of world-class, his movement off the ball is intelligent and he brings creativity and imagination to United’s build-up play as well.
At Arsenal he functioned as a deep-lying forward, often up front on his own, but dropping into wide and midfield areas to receive the ball and orchestrate the creation of attacking play as well as getting himself in the box as the intended target man.
I wouldn’t expect him to improve in terms of his finishing – that ebbs and flows dependent on his fitness, form and confidence – and I wouldn’t expect his skill level to improve dramatically at his age. He’s never really been a great aerial threat and I would suspect he’s unlikely to add that to his game now as that’s not really what he’s about.
I suppose what will improve as long as he plays as much of the season as hoped is his poaching – he is undoubtedly the most dangerous forward in and around the box across all twenty teams in the league and he only needs half a chance to score. Even a glimpse of goal and he can turn what wasn’t even a clear-cut opportunity into a goal.
The more he plays with his teammates, the more fluent he will be at playing in their language and vice versa. The team was and is set up to feed him and with more game-time this term, United’s midfield will know where to expect him to be and they’ll know where he wants the ball on an even more consistent and accurate basis than last season.
It seems almost impossible that Robin van Persie could get any better but, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
image: © little-pete