Sir Alex Ferguson’s £24 million capture of Robin van Persie proved to be a masterstroke for one season after the Dutchman scored 26 goals to fire United to the 2012/13 Premier League title.
But it was the definition of a short-term signing by Ferguson, who was desperate to complete his 26-year stint at Old Trafford with a 13th league crown.
He did just that thanks to the irresistible form of Van Persie that season but the Dutchman was approaching 29 and quickly declined in the seasons that followed.
And it’s emerged from journalist Rory Smith that the fiery Scot was weighing up signing a 24-year old Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund after he bagged 30 goals for the Bundesliga outfit, but went for a quick fix addition as opposed to someone who would lead the line for years to come.
“What Ferguson did in the last couple of years, and it’s totally understandable and he deserved the chance to do it, was say ‘I want my title, I want to go out on a high with the title,'” Smith said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“So when they signed Van Persie, there was one other striker that they were looking at. That one other striker was Robert Lewandowski.
“Now a club who is thinking about the long term says: now Van Persie’s fantastic but Lewandowski will be our first-choice number nine, potentially, for – I mean, he’s still going now – so another seven years.
“You go and sign Lewandowski, you don’t sign Van Persie.”
Van Persie’s league goals tally dropped to 12 and 10 in his last two campaigns at United and he then moved to Fenerbahce in Turkey before ending his career with boyhood club Feyenoord, where he played his last game as a footballer this weekend.
Lewandowski, meanwhile, has hit a superb 253 goals for Dortmund and Bayern Munich in seven years and made United look a little daft for not opting to acquire him when they had the chance.