Robin van Persie may be sold by Manchester United, say The Sunday Supplement panel

Last Updated: 14/03/14 11:24am

Manchester United may sell the under-performing Robin van Persie in the summer, says Neil Custis.

The Dutch striker enjoyed a fine first season at Old Trafford, playing a key role in their Premier League title-winning campaign in Sir Alex Ferguson's final term in charge.

"The toys have gone out of the pram since Alex Ferguson went."

Neil Custis

However, under new United boss David Moyes this year, Van Persie has spent time on the sidelines with injury and been below par when he has made it onto the field.

Reports in Sunday's papers suggest the club are looking to sell the 30-year-old at the end of the season and The Sun's Neil Custis suspects that could be the case.

"I think it could come to a point where United sell him at the end of the season," he told The Sunday Supplement.

"There is an argument that they are a quicker team and, certainly yesterday [in their 3-0 win over West Brom], a better team, when he isn't in it.

"His attitude and body language have been wrong this season, his link-up play with Wayne Rooney is non-existent and Danny Welbeck offers United a lot more pace up front - although his goal statistics are still not there."

Problem

Custis also believes that, as well as Van Persie's on-field problems, the Holland international has also caused disruption away from the pitch.

The Sun journalist likened Van Persie to former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who was dropped from the national team for a combination of on-field and off-field issues, and says the striker's commitment to the cause is not what it was under Ferguson.

"Earlier in the season, when the United medical staff were saying he's fit, he's ready to play, Van Persie kept saying 'no, I need more time'. That was something that irritated Moyes to the point he had a showdown meeting with him," said Custis.

"He's fast becoming a Kevin Pietersen character at United. He obviously has the ability but there's something wrong there.

"I wouldn't say he's totally unpopular [with the other players] but he has put a few noses out of joint in terms of not getting back to play as quickly as he could and going back to Holland when he has the opportunity in what is a difficult season, where he's almost abdicated responsibility for it.

"It's a shame after last season because he was the difference, the reason they won the title and he had a fantastic season. But the toys have gone out of the pram since Alex Ferguson went.

"There have been problems with the training because the training used to be tailored to him and it's not anymore. And there was another issue when David Moyes rightly said everyone starts with a clean slate and you have to prove yourself to me and he didn't like that either because he thought he was above that.

"This is a guy who would run through brick walls for Alex Ferguson but isn't doing it for David Moyes. Wayne Rooney is a great example of someone who would go out on that pitch no matter what and Van Persie isn't."

And Custis believes Moyes should look to the example set by his predecessor, who was famous for selling talented players if he felt their performance or attitude wasn't right.

"Ferguson made very big decisions on players - Ruud van Nistelrooy being the classic example," he said.

"He was one of the greatest strikers ever to be at Old Trafford and Ferguson got rid of him because he saw something had gone wrong with his attitude and his form and he went.

"Van Persie should be the talisman, getting everyone going and being at the centre of everything but he's a player with his head down."

Click on the video above to see the panel raise concerns about where Robin van Persie could actually go - and why his link-up play with Wayne Rooney leaves much to be desired.