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Is Robin van Persie Manchester United's greatest ever signing?

  • @simonrice

Robin van Persie scored twice last night to continue the remarkable start to his Manchester United career.

His brace against CFR Cluj took the Dutchman's goal tally to seven in eight appearances, while the importance of the goals he's scored cannot be underestimated.

Away against Southampton and with United trailing 2-1, the 29-year-old scored a hat-trick as the visitors dramatically triumphed 3-2. Against Liverpool, it was RVP who stepped up in the 81st minute to take the penalty which won United the match. And then last night, with his side trailing to CFR Cluj, it was his goals that saw United win the match 2-1.

RVP's performances have even led to his team-mate Patrice Evra reminding people that Manchester United do have more than one striker.

"They were talking about Robin so much I thought we've just got one striker," he said.

"Robin's an amazing player and that's good but people mustn't forget what Wayne Rooney has done for this club.

"He's a big, massive player and looked really sharp last night.

"When someone new comes, everyone is excited and forgets the old things. But Wazza will show it to everyone."

All of this has led to suggestions that RVP could be Sir Alex Ferguson's best ever signing.

It's quite early to tell - since his debut against Everton was only 45 days ago. Eight matches to judge is not particularly scientific. But the goal stats are in RVP's favour when compared to his rival strikers signed over the last two decades in their first eight games.

On Rooney's debut for United, he scored an unforgettable Champions League hat-trick. Over the next seven games, he could only manage one more. Ruud van Nistelrooy notched on his debut as well, in the Charity Shield against Liverpool, and would score a total of four in his first eight matches. Eric Cantona, considered by some the greatest player to pull on a United shirt, also scored on his debut and would achieve a total of four in his first eight appearances.

Dimitar Berbatov, United's most expensive striker, would fare a little better - he scored five. As did Dwight Yorke after joining from Aston Villa. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would also score five times in his first eight games.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who would go on to become the world's most expensive player and perhaps the most feared striker in the world, didn't score at all.

There is more to a striker than just goals, and as the Ronaldo stat shows, judging a player over eight games is somewhat fruitless. So is Van Persie Ferguson's best ever signing? The early signs are more than promising.