Robin van Persie may be perfectly happy at Manchester United for all we know. But the now daily reports of disharmony and a possible summer exit means reality is masked by the fog of speculation.
The latest story comes from Goal, who claim the Dutchman has a clause in his United contract allowing him to speak to other clubs if his current one fails to make it into the top four this season.
Considering the sizeable gap between David Moyes’ side and Manchester City – currently nine points with the Blues having three games in hand – the only way United will qualify for next season’s Champions League is by winning it in May.
But being allowed to talk to another club is very different from being permitted to move there, and Goal adds the significant caveat that the United board would still have to agree to the switch, with a suitable fee also needing to be agreed.
So in truth, if the clause does exist it means little if United are not prepared to play ball.
There has been some suggestion in the media that the reigning champions would be better off without van Persie; that their performance against West Bromwich Albion after he had departed was more energetic, and that with Wayne Rooney playing up front and Juan Mata in behind, United are only a considerably stronger midfield away from having an outstanding side again.
But it would take a brave man to sanction the sale of one of the world’s top strikers – a man who played a huge role in the club’s last title under Sir Alex Ferguson and one who at just 30 still has some time on his side.
That said, with a contract until 2016, if United do want to get their money’s worth the move would have to happen this summer.
So here I am, doing what everyone else is – suggesting a hypothetical move for a player whose signing was hailed as a master-stroke only for his potential departure to be making headlines less than two years later.
image: © Blogsession