2012/13 Barclays Premier League
Little was known about Robin van Persie when he came onto Arsene Wenger's radar in 2004, but he has emerged into one of the best strikers in the world for club and country.
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 paltry £2.75 million. Wenger transformed him from a left-winger to a forward and the result was 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 first team. Initially injuries 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 his form in 2011-12 as club captain was among the best in the world as he smashed 26 league goals. However, come the end of the season, RVP announced that he would not be signing a new contract with the club and wanted to move on.
A week ahead of the new season he agreed terms with Manchester United over a £20m move.
Strengths: With pace and skill in abundance, this forward can change a game in an instant with his ability to achieve the improbable. He is technically excellent with the vision to unlock a defence too.
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 set goalscoring records for Arsenal.
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: "He is very intelligent and talented but most of all he is passionate about the game. At the start we gave him Dennis Bergkamp as a role model. And he has grown into the Bergkamp role. He is becoming like Dennis in his passing - and he scores more goals than Dennis. He respected Dennis and listened to his advice." Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in February 2009.
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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