Report claims Man United had deal in place to sign Robert Lewandowski in 2012 but instead opted to sign Robin van Persie

Old Trafford

Van Persie joined from their Premier League rivals Arsenal for £22m.

Manchester United reportedly passed on a deal to sign Robert Lewandowski - despite having an agreement in place to bring the Poland international to the club - instead opting to sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal, according to The Sun.

The Sun claims that the Red Devils had pursued Lewandowski while he was with Borussia Dortmund, but rather than complete a move for him, they turned their attention to the Dutchman, who would go on to secure a £22m move to Old Trafford.

In some ways, it is not a surprise that United chose the Gunners forward over Lewandowski. Van Persie had finished the campaign before his arrival with 30 goals for Arsene Wenger's side, while the now Bayern Munich forward scored 22 times in the Bundesliga

Nevertheless, with van Persie's age and injury record, it is still difficult to understand why United made the decision they did. Perhaps, the fact that the Netherlands international was a proven goalscorer in England swayed their decision. 

Van Persie seemingly justified the fee by helping United win the Premier League title in his first season with the club. His 26 strikes made him the division's top goalscorer and ensured that legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson was able to finish his career with another championship crown. 

However, in the two seasons that followed, the 32-year-old managed just 22 league strikes before departing for Fenerbahce in the summer. 

Meanwhile, Lewandowski has scored 78 times in the league since United passed up the opportunity to sign him. 

And with current United boss Louis van Gaal coming in for criticism due to the side's lack of attacking threat, he may be wondering how different things could have been had one of his predecessors made a different choice that would have allowed him to manage Lewandowski in his prime. 

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