'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."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home