Robin Van Persie might have been a Manchester United player if he wasn’t dismissed when the team’s scouts went to see him. Sir Alex Ferguson revealed the Red Devils were interested in the Dutch master before he signed with rivals Arsenal in 2004, according to the Mirror.
“Van Persie played with the Feyenoord reserve team, way back, and we didn’t move for him,” Ferguson said. “I think he was sent off that day — either sent off or he walked off, I can’t remember. But we sort of left it alone. The disciplinary issue didn’t put us off. I think Arsenal were maybe closer to the situation than we were at the time.”
At the time, Van Persie was well-known as a talented, but petulant, player. He made his debut for Feyenoord Rotterdam’s first team in 2001 at the early age of 17. But he had a number of run-ins with manager Bert van Marwijk.
For three seasons, Van Marwijk made the combustible striker split his time between the first team bench and reserves whenever he stepped out of line — which was often. Van Persie would not become a regular for his boyhood club because of his many disciplinary issues, and Arsenal was reportedly the only major club to show interest in him. It scooped him up for a paltry £2.75 million ($4.3 million) in 2004.
If Ferguson wanted to buy the Arsenal captain today, he would easily fetch a transfer fee at least 10-20 times that amount. Van Persie has refused to discuss a new contract with the Gunners until the end of the season, so there is time for the United manager to revisit a past oversight.