The writing looks to be on the wall for Robin van Persie at Manchester United as rumours abound that Wayne Rooney will shortly sign a new four-and-a-half-year deal at Old Trafford, worth a colossal £300,000 per week, and is in line to be the club’s next captain.
Van Persie has been repeatedly linked with a move back to his old side Arsenal, who are 7/2 to win their Champions League last-16 first-leg match at home to Bayern Munich, and Gunners chief Arsene Wenger is yet to rule out a summer swoop for the prolific Dutch forward.
While a move back to north London looks far from assured, especially considering the less-than-friendly reception experienced by Van Persie in his side’s recent 0-0 draw at the Emirates, it’s difficult to see where the 30-year-old fits into United gaffer David Moyes’ masterplan.
Moyes strongly indicated in pre-season that he saw the Rotterdam native as his first-choice striker, with Rooney kept out of the clutches of summer suitors despite falling down the pecking order at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
However, the 79-cap Oranje star’s injury problems this season have seen him play in just over half of the soon-to-be-deposed champions’ 39 games so far.
He may have roared back to form by striking three times in his four appearances since returning to the side, but Moyes’ penchant for playing one up front does not bode well for Van Persie’s first-team chances in the medium term.
New signing Juan Mata has been deployed on the wing since his £37m move from Chelsea in January, but the Spaniard’s best position is clearly behind the striker and with Adnan Januzaj also able to fill both number 10 and wide roles, it seems likely that Rooney will feature further forward with increasing regularity.
Speculation that Van Persie is unhappy under the Moyes regime has been rife during United’s catastrophic campaign and both Barcelona and Real Madrid were reportedly interested in the striker – who became the Premier League’s top scorer for the second successive season last term – prior to the January transfer window.
The Red Devils are out to 11/1 to make the top four this May, while Moyes’ men can be backed at 8/15 to secure a top-six finish.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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