Football News

Why Liverpool have overtaken Man Utd in the transfer market, according to Robin van Persie

By Ben Green

Published: 12:41, 2 April 2020

Former Manchester United forward Robin van Persie has accused the club of making signings based on “marketing motives”.

He believes his old club have faltered when making high risk “gambles” in the transfer market, name-checking a certain Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba as two notable punts.


Liverpool signings under Jurgen Klopp:

  • 2016: Steven Caulker (loan), Marko Grujic (£5.1m), Sadio Mane (£36m), Georginio Wijnaldum (£25m), Joel Matip (free), Loris Karius (£5m), Ragnar Klavan (£4m), Alex Manninger (free)
  • 2017:  Mohamed Salah (£37m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£34m), Andy Robertson (£8m), Dominic Solanke (free), Naby Keita (£60m)
  • 2018: Virgil van Dijk (£75m), Alisson (£66m), Fabinho (£39m), Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m)
  • 2019: Sepp van den Berg (£1m), Adrian (free)
  • 2020: Takumi Minamino (£8m)

Man Utd signings since Sir Alex Ferguson retired:

  • 2013: Guillermo Varela (£2m), Saidy Janko (£700,000), Marouane Fellaini (£27.5m)
  • 2014: Juan Mata (£37m), Ander Herrera (£24m), Luke Shaw (£30m), Vanja Milinković-Savić (£1m), Marcos Rojo (£16m), Angel Di Maria (£59m), Daley Blind (£14m), Timothy Fosu-Mensah
  • 2015: Víctor Valdes (free), Sadiq El Fitouri, Memphis Depay (£25m), Matteo Darmian (£13m), Bastian Schweinsteiger (£10m), Morgan Schneiderlin (£20m), Sergio Romero (free), Anthony Martial (£36m), Regan Poole (£100,000)
  • 2016: Eric Bailly (£30m), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£27m), Paul Pogba (£89m)
  • 2017: Victor Lindelof (£31m), Romelu Lukaku (£75m), Nemanja Matić (£20m)
  • 2018: Alexis Sánchez (swap deal), Diogo Dalot (£19m), Fred (£47m), Lee Grant (£1.5m)
  • 2019: Daniel James (£15m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£45m), Harry Maguire (£80m)
  • 2020: Bruno Fernandes (£47m initial fee)

Van Persie secured a controversial move to Man United from bitter rivals Arsenal in 2012, but justified his switch by clinching a Premier League title.

However, since those halcyon days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure, the club have flattered to deceive in the market, with the likes of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho making a string of high-profile blunders in the market.

Players like Angel Di Maria, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Memphis Depay and Radamel Falcao have all passed through the Old Trafford door, but have had little success on the club, and Van Persie has now called into question the method of those acquisitions.

He believes United have not been buying players to fit the philosophy of the club, but rather, securing big names for commercial reasons. He went on to offer a glowing appraisal of Liverpool’s own transfer stance.

Van Persie told SoFoot: “If you compare it to Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp was appointed and players were selected who fit in with the football philosophy, not from marketing motives.

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“They built the club on a coach’s sporting project. At Manchester United they gamble on star names like Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.

“That’s one way. It is risky. If such a player gets injured or does not fit, the whole team is vulnerable.

“While having a philosophy like Liverpool and not Manchester United creates enormous collective power.

“The challenge for Manchester United is to see if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can successfully establish a philosophy of his own.”

With the Premier League table frozen by the indefinite suspension resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Liverpool top the standings by 25 points. United are 37 points behind in fifth, but only three points off fourth-place Chelsea.

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