by Andy MacNab
Let’s be clear Robin van Persie is a top player. He is currently the PFA and FWA Player of the Year and had a phenomenal season last year. Virtually any club in the world would be strengthened with him in their squad.
But why did he end up at United?
They have, since the signing of Berbatov, made grand statements of “bringing through youth”, mainly acquired from other clubs, and not spending big money on players over 28 where there is no sell on value.
It is what their business plan has been based on. They don’t want to pay top dollar on wages except for established internationals that have been at the club for some years which keeps the percentage of income paid out on wages at the magical(!) 50%.
The answer may lie in the stuttering season ticket and shirt sales.
Have United ever gone into a new Premiership season without selling all their season tickets? There is much reluctance from United fans due to their belief that the stardust that was sprinkled over their team over the last few years has declined into an efficient,points winning but boring outfit.
The shirt sales must also need a boost after a less than exciting response to their new tablecloth based home shirt.
The debt also requires paying off, only once the Glazers have pocketed their princely sum of course.
If the reports are correct, I believe we can assume that United paid around 22 Million pounds for the 29 year old Van Persie and are paying wages in the region of £200,000 per week. Nearly 10 Million pounds over his 4 year contract.
That is over 60 Million pounds out of the 75 Million they banked by selling 10% of their club.
This could be off set of course by shirt sales and a new found belief by United fans that the stardust has returned.
That initially is what could happen and, such is the player’s calibre, only injury – a distinct possibility – may stop Van Persie being a success.
But what of the future? If United fail to win the PL title, what then?
The dice is being rolled by United’s much maligned Yanks.
Further top draw players will demand parity with Rooney and RVP. This gives United a financial dilemma. Continue to pay out until they again achieve success or slide back into buying young untried players for top money and attempt to turn them into players capable of winning PL and CL titles. RVP has just left a club with those very same principles.
This is only the beginning of the RVP impact as United try to plug the gap between them and City.