Two years ago, Robin van Persie was the best and most prolific striker in the Premier League. He had just fired Manchester United to the title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year and had been the top scorer in the division for two seasons running.
Fast forward to the present day and Van Persie is not only back to being injury-prone but his has shown severe signs of ageing and is nothing more than a back-up option, in danger of being sold in the summer.
That’s if he gets the opportunity. Even with Rooney out, Van Persie is no longer guaranteed to start, with Radamel Falcao also looking for a final chance to showcase his ability ahead of an important summer where Van Gaal is likely to let at least one of his struggling strike duo leave the club.
Whoever Van Gaal opts to start against Arsenal is likely to be the one he keeps next season. Van Persie and Falcao used to be world beaters, now they are merely fighting for one spot in United’s squad for next season.
No negotiations have taken place to extend Van Persie’s contract beyond next summer and the most likely scenario is that United will want to cash in on him before it is too late.
However, the sad truth is that Van Persie was at his peak when United signed him and has deteriorated ever since Ferguson retired. He seems to have lost his burst of pace and even his killer instinct which saw him score 56 league goals between 2011 and 2013.
His tally of 10 goals this campaign is tame compared to that record and is not a good enough record for Van Gaal, who wants his strikers to get double that total as a minimum, per the Guardian. The ruthless boss will be on the look-out for a younger replacement for Van Persie this summer, unless he can produce a performance against the Gunners.