Soccerstarz - Man Utd Robin Van Persie - Home Kit
Robin van Persie has moved into the prime of his career.
The Dutchman enjoyed a successful World Cup in 2010 and went from strength to strength in 2011. He matched the Premier League record for goals scored between January 1 and the end of a season, netting 18 times in 19 appearances. What's more, Robin set a new mark for scoring in consecutive away matches.
Robin's quality has never been in doubt. He is an expert goal-taker and goal-maker with a penchant for free-kicks. That description fitted another of Arsenal's famous Dutchmen and it was no surprise when the 28-year-old took Dennis Bergkamp's No 10 shirt when it became available last season.
At times, injury has hampered his contribution but Robin is experienced, tenacious and passionate. He will literally lead Arsenal's attack this season and, if he stays fit, you can count on the captain for goals.
Robin is a 'non-homegrown' player in Arsenal's official 2011/12 Premier League squad. 2004/05
Robin signed for the Club in May 2004 when he put pen to paper on a four-year deal. Upon his arrival Arsene Wenger praised the versatility of his new acquisition: "He can play on the left side of midfield, as a creative player behind the main strikers or as a target man."
Robin made his debut in an Arsenal shirt when he came on as a substitute in the season-opening Community Shield in August and won his first piece of silverware with the Club after the 3-1 victory over Manchester United.
The new signing had to endure time on the bench during the early parts of the season though made his competitive debut in October and scored the opening goal against Manchester City in a 2-1 win in the League Cup. He cut his teeth in the Carling Cup, made further starts in the early rounds of the FA Cup before breaking into the first team when the opportunity arose late in the season.
In February, Robin made the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was sent off against Southampton and was subsequently suspended for a number of games. He returned as an 82nd-minute substitute in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Blackburn and managed to score twice in the closing stages of the game.
He played an important role after coming off the bench in the FA Cup Final win over Manchester United and made 18 starts and 23 substitute appearances during his debut season in England, scoring ten times.
"In a season you have a few ups and downs. But the most important thing is to have more ups than downs," said Robin. "I am happy with myself, this club and to have the confidence of the boss and the other players. I am really enjoying my time in England."
Robin began the season in a more central position and seemed to revel in the new role as he became a crowd favourite at Highbury. He scored eight goals in as many games after becoming the latest left winger to be successfully converted to a centre forward by Arsene Wenger.
Strike partner Thierry Henry was full of praise for the Dutchman: "Without going too far he has everything a footballer would dream to have. He can play anywhere he wants. I am not joking, it is up to him and his desire."
Robin signed a contract extension in January and after agreeing to stay in north London for another five years, admitted his delight at the new deal: "I am very happy with my team-mates and the boss. In fact a lot of my progress is down to him and his faith in me."
His season was disrupted by injuries which included breaking his toe against Cardiff days after signing the new contract. Despite this, he went on to make 21 starts in all competitions and scored 11 goals.
The former Feyenoord man missed half of the 2006/07 season with a broken foot but he still managed to be Arsenal's top marksman. The season started in spectacular fashion when at the end of September he scored a stunning volley against Charlton.
The Dutchman settled a tight London derby by sending a vicious volley past Scott Carson from Emmanuel Eboue's pinpoint cross. "I have seen the goal on TV and yes it was my best goal," he said afterwards.
Robin scored 13 goals in 25 starts in the first half of the season before the then 23-year-old broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in the process of scoring Arsenal's equaliser in a 2-1 win against Manchester United in January.
It was initially thought he would feature again that season but with little to play for, Arsene Wenger believed there was no point risking him and Robin's season was over.
A little over three years after joining the Club, Robin shouldered most of the goalscoring responsibilities within the side after the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona. Though his season was again disrupted by injury.
A knee problem kept him sidelined from mid-October to mid-December and then after returning for a couple of games he picked up a thigh injury. He returned for the Carling Cup Semi Final against Tottenham but lasted only 45 minutes and the rest of his season was disrupted by setbacks.
Robin admitted he had missed far too many games over the previous two terms but was buoyed by his scoring record during that time, with 22 goals in 45 starts. "Last year I missed too many games and I am still disappointed about it. But that is life. That is football and things can happen. I accepted it."
Simply staying healthy throughout the 2008/09 season would have been a step forward but his contribution during the season was special. The first sign that the real Robin van Persie had returned was when he scored two second-half goals in a comeback against Chelsea in a 2-1 win in November. That was closely followed by an outstanding strike against Liverpool.
He went on to play an integral part in Arsenal's run to the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup semi finals and as well as his 11 Premier League goals, Robin scored five times in the Champions League and four times in the FA Cup. Throughout the season, he produced many important and match-winning performances.
In July, Robin put pent to paper on a new long-term contract, much to the happiness of Arsene Wenger. "It's fantastic news that he has committed his long-term future to Arsenal Football Club, we're all delighted. Robin is a hugely gifted player and has the talent and goalscoring ability to win matches at the very top level."
We'll never know if Arsenal would have won the title if Robin had stayed fit. But a quick glance at the Dutchman's stats suggests that they would have gone mighty close.
Robin took time to get going in 2009/10 while he acclimatised to the central striker's role in Arsene Wenger's 4-3-3 formation. But it all came together with a masterful strike at Manchester City in September and he never looked back.
Robin's goal at Eastlands sparked a run of eight in nine appearances but he would play just twice more before April after a crunching challenge from Giorgio Chiellini - in an international friendly of all things - left him with ruptured ankle ligaments.
"RVP: I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations - when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United.
From my side, and Arsenal as well, there are no hard feelings. There were certain elements which were vital to me that we had a different view. That is life. Nobody is angry at me and I'm not angry at them."
On 15 August 2012, Arsenal announced they had agreed terms with Manchester United for his transfer, but Van Persie had yet to agree personal terms with the club. On 17 August, Van Persie transferred to Manchester United for 24 million, signing a four-year contract. He made his debut on 20 August, coming on as a 68th-minute substitute for Danny Welbeck in a 1-0 loss to Everton. Five days later, with his first shot for the club, he scored his first Manchester United goal, United's first in a 3-2 victory over Fulham. On 2 September 2012, he scored his first hat-trick for United in another 3-2 victory over Southampton, helping pull United back from a 2-1 deficit; his third goal was his 100th in the Premier League.