Man Utd missed out on van Persie signing more than a decade ago

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Manchester United wanted to sign Robin van Persie more than 10 years ago, only for Arsenal to beat their Premier League rivals to the signature of the Dutchman, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Van Persie was then a promising young player at Feyenoord and Ferguson sent one of his most trusted lieutenants, Jimmy Ryan, to cast his eye over the teenage forward in 2001. Ryan watched on as van Persie was sent off during the match, which the Mirror claims raised doubts at United over the player’s temperament.

A few years later van Persie was on the move to England with Arsenal, signed for less than £3m and scoring almost 100 goals in his time under Arsene Wenger before Ferguson finally got his man this summer in a transfer with more than eight times what van Persie originally cost the Gunners.

Ferguson said: “Robin was only 16 or 17 at the time, but our assessment of young players is always based on the potential you see in them.We sent Jim Ryan over to Feyenoord and Robin was ¬actually sent off in the game. Jim said he was a fantastic talent, but felt that he was a little immature.

He added: “At 16, we’re all immature, but we didn’t progress it, and then he went to Arsenal.

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