Rants and musings from the magazine team
While there's only one place Tottenham's Luka Modric wants to be next season, things don't seem quite so clear cut for Arsenal's Robin van Persie, the man at the centre of the summer's other 'transfer saga'.
The analysts at Football Manager have conducted an experiment with the aim of determining which move would best serve the Dutchman - staying at Arsenal, or joining Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Juventus.
To do this, they have simulated the 2012/13 season five times, each with Van Persie plonked into the forward line of one of the five clubs listed above.
Here's what happened (errrrm, or would happen...or is going to happen)
VAN PERSIE JOINS MANCHESTER UNITEDAppearances 46Goals 24Assists 14MotM Awards 5Average rating 7.59League finish 1stTrophies Premier League, Champions LeagueArsenal league finish 5thVan Persie makes his United debut on the opening day of the Premier League season, taking just four minutes to open his Red Devils account. Despite a successful campaign, his two appearances against his former club proved frustrating. He is booked and performs poorly in a 2-1 home defeat to the Gunners, before being hauled off in the second half of a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium later in the season. He does, however, score home and away against Manchester City, as well as in United's 4-1 Champions League Final win over AC Milan.VAN PERSIE JOINS MANCHESTER CITYAppearances 46Goals 22Assists 7MotM Awards 4Average rating 7.22League finish 2ndTrophies Community Shield and FA Cup.Arsenal league finish 5thRather than deploy Van Persie alongside Sergio Aguero, Digital Roberto Mancini opts to rotate the pair, rarely playing both together. This means just 30 of RVP's 46 appearances are starts, and prevents either player from really finding goalscoring form on a consistent basis. The former Arsenal man does still manage to pop up and stick one past his former club, though.Braces against Leeds and Birmingham help City to the FA Cup Final against Liverpool where, despite not scoring, Van Persie performs well. Only man of the match Vincent Kompany rates higher than the forward's 7.7, as Mancini's side seal victory.Things don't go quite so well in Europe though, with the Dutchman red carded in a Champions League draw at Juventus for two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. City eventually crash out of the competition at the first knock-out stage thanks to a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Barcelona.
VAN PERSIE JOINS CHELSEAAppearances 56Goals 25Assists 16MotM Awards 8Average rating 7.58League finish 2ndTrophies FA Cup and Europa LeagueArsenal league finish 5th
The Dutchman succeeds where Fernando Torres failed, hitting the ground running in a Chelsea shirt. It takes him just five minutes to open his Blues account, as he blasted in early on in the West Londoners' season opener.Despite Chelsea winning the FA Cup, Van Persie doesn't appear in the final, though he does play in the final of the Europa League, laying on an assist for Marko Marin in a 2-0 win over Benfica.In three matches against Arsenal - two in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup, Van Persie fails to make much of an impact and is twice substituted.Van Persie links up well fellow new boy Eden Hazard, who himself nabs 24 assists and 19. Season highlights for the former Gunner included a Europa League quarterfinal hattrick away to Lyon and a goal in a 2-1 win at Old Trafford that keeps the Blues very much in the title race until the final week of the season.
VAN PERSIE JOINS JUVENTUSAppearances 33Goals 15Assists 8MotM Awards 7Average rating 7.43League finish 4thTrophies NoneArsenal league finish 5th
Although Van Persie's first season in Turin doesn't bring any trophies, the individual accolades come pouring in. He is named Serie A's Player of the Year award, Foreign Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year. In a sense, it's a lot like still being at Arsenal...
VAN PERSIE STAYS AT ARSENALAppearances 22Goals 10Assists 3MotM Awards 3Average rating 7.16League finish 4thTrophies None
Perhaps tellingly, this is the only of the five simulations which sees the Gunners finish in the Premier League's top four.Van Persie's season is blighted by injury, with a three-month lay-off with a groin muscle tear the longest spell on the sidelines. This prevents the Dutchman from finding form, and although he chips in with goals and assists at a reasonable rate and is still the club's top scorer in the league, he's nowhere near the levels of 2011/12.
Football Manager 2012 is available now
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