2013/14 English Premier League
Little was known about Robin van Persie when he first came onto Arsene Wenger's radar in 2004, but when he left Arsenal for Manchester United in 2012 he had established himself as one of the Gunners' greatest ever strikers.
A young forward with Feyenoord, Van Persie had only been playing in the Eredivisie club's first-team for a couple of seasons before opting to move to London for a bargain 2.75 million pounds. Wenger transformed him from a left-winger to a forward and the results were impressive.
Handed his international debut with Netherlands in the summer of 2005, by the time the 2006 World Cup came around, Van Persie had forced his way into the Dutch starting line-up. Injuries initially plagued his time with Arsenal, though his disciplinary problems abated, and his breakthrough came the season after his decent showing at Euro 2008 when he was named the club's Player of the Season after scoring 20 goals in 44 appearances.
But just as he was drawing comparisons with some of the best strikers in Europe after operating as the central striker in Arsenal's 4-3-3 formation, Van Persie suffered a serious injury in a friendly international against Italy in November 2009 that ruled him out for five months. Battling back once more, he helped to lead Netherlands to the final of the 2010 World Cup and continued to be a vital presence for his country; in October 2013 he became the Oranje's all-time leading scorer, overtaking Patrick Kluivert's haul of 40 international goals.
Van Persie's form in 2011-12 as Arsenal club captain was among the best in the world as he smashed 30 league goals to win the Premier League Golden Boot and the PFA Player of the Year award. However, RVP was hungry for trophies and having endured seven barren years with the Gunners he announced that he would not be signing a new contract with the club -- a week ahead of the 2012-13 season he agreed terms with Arsenal's rivals Manchester United in 24 million pound deal -- becoming the first player to make the move since Viv Anderson in 1987.
The switch proved to be a shrewd piece of business by Sir Alex Ferguson as Van Persie fired United to a record-extending 20th league success with 26 league goals, including a superb volley as part of a first-half hat trick against Aston Villa to clinch the title.
The Dutch talisman could not inspire his nation to glory however and despite a fine goal against Germany, Netherlands crashed out in the Euro 2012 group stages, losing all three matches.
Strengths: Despite not possessing electric pace, Van Persie can change a game in an instant with his ability to achieve the improbable. He is technically excellent, intelligent on and off the ball and has the vision to unlock any defence.
Weaknesses: His injury problems have been well documented, and perhaps sometimes he takes the difficult option when a simple pass would suffice. Not great in the air and there have also been question marks over his temperament.
Career high: He started every match at the 2010 World Cup including the final, and the season after he scored 30 league goals for Arsenal, earning him the PFA Player of the Year award.
Career low: An 8-2 defeat to Manchester United in early 2011-12 as newly appointed captain saw him describe the match as one of the worst in his life.
Style: Skilful, technical, precise, a potent striker with a delicate touch.
Quotes: "I think he is definitely an example of a striker who can play the No. 9 and No. 10 roles together. He puts the goals in and provides a lot and I think, for a player of that quality, it's very rare. He is top class." Manchester United legend and former Netherlands teammate Ruud Van Nistelrooy praises Van Persie.
Trivia: Van Persie is a very left-footed player and has an interesting turn of phrase to describe his right. "I think you will miss many more chances with your chocolate leg if you think negatively, thinking that it's not your strong foot," he once said.
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