'We wanted Robin van Persie badly': Alex Ferguson had no concerns paying £24m for Arsenal striker
RVP has enjoyed an incredible debut season at Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson never had the slightest fear Robin van Persie would fail to repay the £24million gamble he took to sign the Dutchman from Arsenal.
With a patchy injury record and only one year remaining on his contract, Van Persie looked to be something of a risk for the Manchester United manager this summer.
Now the 29-year-old looks like a bargain. With 20 goals and a growing number of assists, Van Persie is in line to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo as a back-to-back PFA Player of the Year and is one of the major reasons why United head into Sunday's encounter with Liverpool holding a seven-point advantage over major rivals Manchester City.
And it is all thanks to Ferguson deciding Van Persie was the man to turn United from runners-up back into champions once more.
"The first thing we look at is the player's ability," said Ferguson. "It was a lot of money for a player in the last year of his contract.
"But the thing about it is - as it proved with Manchester City the year before when they paid £24million for Samir Nasri - you either want him or you don't.
"You have to pay the price that the club are sticking out for, whether it is one year on his contract, two or three.
"We wanted him badly, so we were prepared to go the extra mile.
"Any player coming to us for the first year, you never know for sure. Who would have thought Wayne Rooney would have got a hat-trick on his debut? It is fairytale stuff.
"But what we did know was that we were signing a very good player."
After his supreme goal at West Ham last Saturday, Van Persie will return to United's starting line-up against Liverpool.
Wayne Rooney will not be involved though, despite reports that the former Everton man is desperate to play after his recent knee injury.
"He is not far away," said Ferguson. "I don't think it is an issue of guiding him along in terms of the injury he had. It is quite straightforward.
"If he starts training today, we should have him available for Wednesday's (FA Cup) replay against West Ham."
There is some good news on the injury front though, with Nani and Anderson both back in training after their respective hamstring problems meaning the pair are in contention for Sunday's game.
"It is Liverpool," said Ferguson. "A derby game. That never changes.
"It is always an immensely important game. It is intense and emotional. Everything you can think of in a derby game will probably be there on Sunday."
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Christian Benteke tells Aston Villa not to stand in his way if a 'club like Arsenal' come calling
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you need to know about the Champions League final
Manuel Pellegrini must deliver five trophies in five years at Manchester City says chief executive Ferran Soriano
Major refinancing sees Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.