Manchester United and Holland striker Robin van Persie.
After many years as a promising youngster whose career had been halted by injuries, Robin van Persie has finally had an injury-free run for the last two-and-a-half years to show that he is one of the best attacking players on the planet.
The Dutchman first made a name for himself in his native Holland with Feyenoord, though there were questions over his attitude at the club, and as a result he was sold to Arsenal for just £2.5million in 2004.
Van Persie showed plenty of promise at Arsenal, though he started mainly as a squad player behind the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, and it wasn’t until 2007 when Bergkamp had retired and Henry had left the club that he truly became first choice for the Gunners.
He started the 2007/08 season in fine form, but missed most of the campaign through injury, making it a frustrating few years in the Premier League. He bounced back in 2008/09 with more appearances and more goals, but was again on the treatment table for much of 2009/10 and 2010/11.
It was only really last season that van Persie showed his best form, scoring 37 goals in all competitions for Arsenal, almost single-handedly guiding them to third in the Premier League, scoring some memorable goals of the highest quality along the way, with stunning winning strikes against Everton and Liverpool.
With Arsenal’s struggle to win silverware, van Persie was widely tipped to be leaving the club in the summer of 2012, with Manchester City looking his most likely destination as they prepared a big-money offer to Arsenal for another one of their players, having signed the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri from the Gunners in the recent past.
However, he made the surprising decision to join Arsenal’s rivals Manchester United, in a move that has soured his reputation with the Emirates Stadium faithful. However, it has only gone on to raise his reputation as a world class finisher.
The 30-year-old was an instant hit at Old Trafford, and with the rest of the team’s key players like Wayne Rooney and Nani looking a little below-par for much of the season, it was the Dutchman’s 30 goals that guided United to their 20th title, which was secured with his superb first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Despite his injury record and advancing years, van Persie has been a great signing at £24million and who knows what more he could have achieved if he’d had better luck with his fitness over the years, and had stronger team-mates around him at Arsenal.