After months of speculation Robin Van Persie’s future is finally secure after Manchester United agreed terms with Arsenal over a reportedly £24m move for the Dutch striker. In the latest and last of our pre-season ‘Burning Questions’ our contributors run the rule over what is one of the Premier League’s most exciting ever transfer deals and what it means to the Fantasy potential of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney…
With a combined total of 499 points over the 2011/12 season in the FPL game the prospect of its two biggest Fantasy assets is, on one hand, a mouthwatering prospect. On the other hand, though, it leaves Fantasy managers with a huge selection headache as to which of these heavyweights they choose. In Rooney they have a player who is a mainstay in the Manchester United set up and usually the first name on Sir Alex Ferguson’s teamsheet. Add penalty-taking duties as well as his 27 goals and four assists last season and his 12.0 price tag in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game and 9.8 price in the Sky Sports game seems like a reasonable amount to pay for his services.
The Manchester United set-up may be new to Robin Van Persie but if he can continue his fine 2011/12 form, which saw him either score or assist 39 of Arsenal’s Premier League goals, he could be a luxury Fantasy managers just can’t live without. His hefty price tag, particularly in the FPL game where he costs 13.0, may be the deciding factor. In the Sky Sports game he is priced just above Rooney, at 10m.
It remains to be seen though whether the pair will help or hinder each other’s prospects this season.
Wayne meet Robin. Cat meet pigeons. 48-hours before our initial squads are carved in stone, we were handed the biggest possible transfer between two of our elite, banishing us back to the drawing board to reconsider our strategy. That plan to reserve funds and adopt Rooney for the Gameweek 2 encounter with Fulham at Old Trafford could now be shelved, with Van Persie now, perhaps, our priority target. For me, there are a number of factors that have me fall in favour of the Dutchman.
Firstly his away form last season with the Gunners was so strong, I’d be hopeful that he can translate some of those road returns to United and offer a viable captain option home and away. Certainly, based on last season’s showings, Rooney was struggling to meet that requirement, making a City attacking option almost a necessity. For me, Van Persie will spearhead the attack away from home, with Rooney sitting behind or even drifting wide to open the channel for Kagawa to bomb forward. We saw last season that Rooney was comfortable dropping deep to orchestrate. With Van Persie in tandem, that’s likely to be a common occurrence.
The second consideration is penalties. In my view, these will go to Van Persie – in simple terms, he’s more reliable from the spot. Rooney strikes a deadball well, but Van Persie still has the edge here and I see Rooney making way. That should help Van Persie come out on top for goals.
The other option of course is neither. We have to consider that one will dent the returns of the other to the extent that there could be stronger value elsewhere. The problem here is that you are then cornered in terms of United attacking coverage. Who else do you back? Antonio Valencia, Kagawa, Nani and Young all carry the threat of rotation and the idea of going the season without coverage from Sir Alex’s bristling artillery just seems unthinkable.
At this embryonic stage I can only really espouse the opinion of ‘Andy the sometimes questionable Fantasy manager’ instead of ‘Andy the slightly more rational Scout Contributor’. My answer to this question, however, lies with door #3. I’ll be the resident Scout kop-out and say that one should save their money and analyse the results of the coming weeks and months first.
We might be about the bear witness the apex of Premier League football evolution with this pairing but at this stage all I can foresee is two top class footballers aiding Manchester United greatly with Fantasy managers maybe, just maybe, a little bit dumbfounded as points ebb and flow between the two. Perhaps even worse is that they’ll both score consistent points but on enough of a shared platform so as their equally blue-chip FPL prices begin to come into question.
At this stage I simply can’t pretend to tell how the cards will fall here so I am skipping this one entirely – for a little while at least. I just ask for some clemency from the Fantasy Gods if and/or when this decision inevitably burns me. It’ll certainly take a certain level of chutzpah (or inebriation) to get through Gameweeks 2-4 with neither of them in my team.
If you are dead set on starting the season with a United striker and have money to burn, then Robin van Persie is clearly the man to back for the trip to Everton. Despite regular press coverage to the contrary, Wayne Rooney’s form at Goodison park is actually quite good – he has still regularly contributed to United success there even in the hostile atmosphere towhich he is exposed. However, when van Persie lines up against the Toffees, the results are often staggering – you only have to look at the opening day hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition a couple of years back to see why the Everton defence must fear his potential inclusion more than any other for the big Monday night game. Oh – and of course there’s his leading goals tally and double player of the year awards to boot. Do you need any more convincing?
For now, I’m very wary of investing in either. Certainly, Van Persie has played almost no part in Arsenal’s pre-season following his Euro 2012 exploits with Holland and I reckon he will be eased into the line-up, purely as his match fitness must surely be an issue – Rooney certainly looks the safer option to kick off the season with.
Over the course of the campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson has so many attacking options at his disposal, I can see both picking up less game time than either were used to last season – Van Persie played every game for Arsenal and Rooney missed just four of United’s league matches but after the club’s early Champions League exit last term, Ferguson is likely to utilise the depth of his squad to better effect. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez will both earn starts up front to the detriment of the two big hitters, while Shinji Kagawa’s preferred position in “the hole” offers Ferguson the chance to play with a lone forward whenever he deems fit – essentially, then, he has five players fighting for the two attacking berths.
When the likes of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez look nailed on for City right now and with plenty of other guaranteed forward options available, I’m likely to initially overlook the United pair for fear of rotation biting hard – Ferguson’s selection policy in the early Gameweeks will hopefully offers us some concrete answers and allow Fantasy managers the chance to invest accordingly. With the spot-kick and set-piece conundrum also factored in, it’s a real headache for Fantasy managers and Van Persie and Rooney, at 13.0 and 12.0 in FPL, are – for me – just too costly to take any chances with at the beginning of the season, though with (FUL, sot, WIG) to come in Gameweeks 2-4, I’m more than aware it’s a decision that could come back to bite me hard.
Commenting is now closed for this post.
For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas