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In his first season at Old Trafford, Robin van Persie fired Manchester United to their 13th Premier League title. Few could have predicted that he just two summers later he would be forced out the gates by fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal.
As van Persie arrived from Arsenal in 2012, he became an instant hit with the Stretford Enders. In his first season he scored 26 goals, including a hat-trick in the title-winning match at home to Aston Villa.
Following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, van Persie was never the same. He was devastated, something he and former Manchester United teammates have clearly expressed afterwards.
The season under David Moyes showed a player who had lost his spark. He never took to the new manager, mostly due to the fact that he just as much signed for Ferguson as for Manchester United. He was heartbroken when the Scotsman retired.
Uplift under van Gaal
During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, van Persie thrived again. He enjoyed his football, scored one of the goals of the tournament with the spectacular header against Spain and he seemed happy. After the Spain goal he celebrated in great fashion with his then new Manchester United manager van Gaal. His career seemed to have recovered already.
But despite playing for a manager he trusted and one that trusted him, van Persie never hit the heights of his first season. A lack of goals and an injury setback in February became the end of him at Old Trafford less than two years after he had won Manchester United the title.
He bowed out with his tail between his legs and a bittersweet three years in the red half of Manchester.
Final move of his career?
There is reason to believe that his move to Fenerbahce this summer will be his last transfer, at least within Europe. The Dutchman had two options this summer, with the first one being to stay at Old Trafford and wait for his chance, jeopardising his chances of a place in Netherland’s 2016 Euros team. The other option was to move on when Fenerbahce came calling.
In Turkey, he will play week-in week-out. Similar to when he arrived at United he will be the leading frontman at Fenerbahce. On top of that, he will keep the £240,000-a-week wages he acquired at United.
Robin van Persie was unwanted at Manchester United, but his move there was not a failed one. He got the Premier League title he had always wanted and he got to play under a manager he truly admired.
His time at Old Trafford may have been cut short, but the fairytale that is van Persie’s career will go on to live on happily ever after in Turkey in the coming three seasons.
Written by Lars H. Thomesen
Follow Lars on Twitter @LarsHT
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