Merson: Robin van Persie likely to leave Manchester United

Pundit expects former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie to depart Manchester United this summer.

Paul Merson has told SkySports he expects striker Robin van Persie to leave Manchester United this summer. 

The pundit believes the former Arsenal striker's recent absence has highlighted his lowering importance to the team.

Van Persie has not played since the Red Devils' 2-1 loss to Swansea City, but is back in training ahead of the Manchester derby.

Merson said: "Robin van Persie won’t start. I think he’s surplus to requirements. I’d be shocked if he’s there at the end of the season."

It's a bold statement regarding the striker, who has 10 goals in 24 starts this season, one of which being an important equaliser against Chelsea.

A departure would be a fall from grace for Van Persie, who led United to the 2012/13 Premier League title. 

There was even speculation he could be named captain of the side this season, having worn the Dutch armband under manager Louis van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup.

Wayne Rooney may have re-established himself as a first choice striker in Van Persie's absence, but he is the only Manchester United player to score more than the Dutchman, with 12 strikes.

If United were to let him go they would have to sign a quality replacement, and with Radamel Falcao unlikely to stay beyond his loan spell, such a departure would mean drastic re-shaping of the club's striking options this summer.

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