Does Robin van Persie deserve a new contract at Manchester United?

Robin van Persie was the final major signing of Sir Alex Ferguson’s illustrious Manchester United career. The Dutch striker put the gloss on a side that was not the best and his goals helped wrestle the league title back from their noisy neighbours Manchester City. Since then the club have been in a bit of a decline and to an extent so has van Persie, the now 31 year old striker.

Van Persie’s allegedly in the dark over a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in June 2016. At this time he’ll be nearly 33 years old. Any new deal would probably see him finish his career at the club and his wages are currently £250,000 per week.

Any deal to keep him at the club would probably still be quite significant in terms of wages given that he could attract big wages in America or out-East. Van Persie wouldn’t take a huge pay cut. Why would he? He’d also have zero sell on, which was probably known when he was signed anyway, as he was seen as a short term fix.

The problem with offering him a new deal is that his form has decreased quite a lot since his debut season. Initially he was a big hit scoring 26 goals in 38 games. Since then he has added 20 goals in 41 games in one and a half seasons. More of a concern is the fact that he looks like he is lacking fitness and sharpness, playing fewer games in this period. This season his goals have been quite sporadic, although United haven’t exactly been free-scoring of late.

RvP has scored eight times in 20 appearances, which sounds OK but this equates to just eight goals in a total of 51 shots, which is not a prolific return and minus his blocked shots makes for a conversion rate of 17.6%. Premier League top scorer Diego Costa in contrast has converted a ridiculous 37%. RvP isn’t scoring as frequently as he was and is nowhere near as clinical. The thought of offering a striker who is slowing down and losing his sharpness as well as goal scoring threat, a new contract, seems utterly bizarre. United would be best off letting him leave for free in 2016 or for a cut deal this summer and then integrate a younger, sharper forward. Were it not for the poor form of Radamel Falcao, RvP would not be getting a look in this campaign. He can still be an asset, at times, but his best days are definitely far behind him now.

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