For a start, transfers between Arsenal and United have been non-existent down the years and RVP just seemed like one of those players who would either head on over to one of the two big Spanish clubs or be lured by the three Ms at Manchester City (Mansour, Mancini and Millions).
But, here he is at Manchester United in a deal which is reported to be around £64million – that’s £24million for his fee and £10million per annum in wages over the course of his four year deal.
First of all, I’d just like to say that overall I am delighted to have Van Persie at United. He’s been a top player for Arsenal down the years who came from the shadow of Thierry Henry to establish himself as the main man there. Some of his goals have been ridiculously good, his goals/appearance ratio for Arsenal has been up there with the best and I have no doubts that he’ll be banging in more than his fair share for us once the new season gets underway.
My main problem with this transfer is that it seems to fly in the face of everything Fergie has been saying for the last few years about our transfer policy.
Since our £30million purchase of Dimitar Berbatov four years ago, our transfer policy appears to have changed dramatically.
Signings have typically been of younger, less expensive players – players who could be improved, developed and then possibly sold at a later date for a profit (a policy not too dissimilar from that for Arsene Wenger down the years).
Fergie has been at pains to tell everyone who believes that we need this or that player that he “sees no value in the transfer market”. To a certain point, I could see where he was coming from. Whilst transfer fees have generally risen just a little over the last decade or so, player salaries have gone through the roof and, as we have seen with this deal for RVP, the salary is now by far the biggest component of a transfer and must be taken into account. Not just for the deal in question but for the knock-on effect it has on the rest of the squad and any future transfers.
Quality, older, established players know their worth (or at least their agents do) and with some of the money sloshing around amongst football’s nouveau riche, they have generally had little problem getting it in recent years but it seems a long time since we seriously contested the signing of one of these players and not so long ago, there were reports that Fergie was actually acting on instructions from above not to buy any player over the age of around 28 (due to them having little or no resale value).
For all RVP’s undeniable qualities, £24million is as high as his transfer value is ever going to get and I do believe that it is too high for a 29 year old player – certainly it is high enough for people to question Fergie previous “value” mantra.
However, for now, it is just good to see us get back to buying players because they will improve us now – not in, possibly, maybe 2-3 seasons’ time and in RVP, I do believe that we have done just that.
Welcome aboard RVP!