Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure at the end of last season was always going to effect the players, but perhaps the most affected player of all is former Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie.
The Dutch international has maintained his high standards set over the last few years by notching ten goals and two assists in 14 Premier League starts – contributing to a goal every 105 minutes. However, he has been hampered by injuries, and the team has suffered without their talisman.
The Red Devils currently lie in seventh spot, 11 points behind fourth with just 12 games remaining. It’s a desperate situation, and a gap which looks unbridgeable.
To rub salt into the wounds, Van Persie’s former club Arsenal lie in second place, a single point behind leaders Chelsea, and are one victory away from a Wembley appearance in the FA Cup – a situation which looked unthinkable 12 months ago.
Speculation over Van Persie’s future has been rife, and The Mirror recently published reports suggesting that the 30-year-old was unhappy with David Moyes’ training regime – a result of his struggling fitness.
Further rumours spread of a possible return to Arsenal – spoken over a proposed meeting between Wenger and his agent – but such talk remains baseless and arguably wishful thinking on Arsenal’s part.
The uncertainty over his future however is now set to increase further. Formerly a captain at both the Emirates and for his national side, The Mirror reports that Robin Van Persie has now been omitted from Manchester United’s ‘future captains’ list’ on the clubs official website.
Players such as Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have naturally been left out as all three seem set on leaving in future – but are Manchester United planning on letting Van Persie depart too?
Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher unsurprisingly made the list as all four possess leadership qualities. However, the inclusion of arguably the quietest man in the Red Devils’ squad – David De Gea – over Robin Van Persie seems bizarre, and it just might signal Dutchman is not in United's long-term plans.
image: © Doha Stadium Plus