Robin Van Persie: 'I listen to the little boy within – and he screamed Man United'

Love-in between Fergie and his new signing, who says he has found his 'perfect match'

When showing off Robin van Persie – Manchester United's new prized asset – Sir Alex Ferguson was being watched intently by the man to his right. That man, the £24m signing from Arsenal who has penned a four-year deal, hung on his manager's every word, nodding in agreement at times and was generally fixated with what he had to say when talking about the upcoming Premier League season.

Van Persie, who began yesterday's press conference in a decorous mood by thanking Arsène Wenger and the Gunners' fans for their support during his eight years in north London, spoke of entering a club which felt like a family; somewhere easy to fit in. He also communicated a vision of something great beginning to happen at Old Trafford as they desperately try to wrench back the title.

But why, with solid interest from Roberto Mancini's champions, did he choose red over blue? "Everyone knows me by now. I'm a lover of football. In that respect I'm quite principled," the striker said.

"It is always quite difficult to find a perfect match but I do feel that this is perfect for me. Manchester United breathe football and if you look at all the players, the stadium and the manager, my choice was made very soon in my mind if you were basing it on those two clubs.

"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.

"This is like a family club. In that respect it isn't a big difference [to Arsenal]. Let me make one thing clear – because I don't want things twisted – is that 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."

It was then Ferguson's turn to speak, and it was as if Van Persie morphed back into that child, engrossed when hearing the lavish praise coming his way.

That was certainly the case when the United manager talked up the Dutchman's ability to help the younger players' development.

Ferguson said: "He's what we have needed for the last couple of years. He has a maturity in his game now. His authority, timing and understanding of the game is complete and I think that we'll benefit for the next four years and, hopefully, beyond that."

Ferguson then went on to focus on the other impact his new signing can have on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez: "If you remember what Eric Cantona did for the young players when he arrived, he was a tremendous teacher. I think Daniel will welcome that."

And it is not just the immense threat Van Persie possesses to rivals on the pitch, or nurturing younger talent at the club that Ferguson is excited about. It relieves a portion of the burden felt by Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as the mature figureheads. "We need a finished player. You have to remember that Scholes and Giggs are coming to the end and we need mature, top players to replace that.

"In our team talks Robin was always a problem for us. He is capable of popping up in positions, so I've taken that problem away from myself and I'm quite happy about that. We never thought we could get Van Persie," added Ferguson, grinning ear to ear.

Van Persie might play big brother to attacking partners in this family, but that is just a subplot to the potentially deadly partnership with Wayne Rooney. After all, Mancini admitted United now have the best attacking talent in world football.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable