Ferguson relishes four-star strikeforce
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Robin van Persie's arrival has put his strikeforce on a par with some of the best he has put together.
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Van Persie has made a fine start to his United career after quitting Arsenal for Old Trafford in the summer.
The 29-year-old has scored nine goals in 12 appearances for his new club and also linked well with his fellow forwards Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
Together they give Ferguson strong attacking options and the Scot feels they warrant comparison with his 1999-2000 quartet of Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who helped United muster 97 league goals.
Ferguson said: "That was a phenomenal strikeforce. Every time they came on the pitch they made contributions.
"At the moment with the present squad, and the strikers we have available, I can see similarities in terms of goal threat. I am not saying we are going to get to 90-odd goals but we are providing a good goal threat."
Van Persie's status soared during an outstanding final season at the Emirates Stadium in which he netted 37 goals for the Gunners.
Because of that it cost United £24million to acquire his services, even though he was coming into the final year of his contract.
That was considerably more than it would have cost the club had they followed up interest after watching Van Persie as a teenager at Feyenoord.
Ferguson said: "He was a kid, he was only 16, 17 at the time. We sent Jim Ryan to see him play for Feyenoord and he was sent off in the game.
"Jim said he was a fantastic talent but he's a little immature. But at 16 they are all immature. We didn't progress it and then he got to Arsenal. I never thought we'd get him until he came out and said he wasn't signing a contract for Arsenal.
"Then it was a matter of working hard with Arsene (Wenger) and myself. I phoned him quite a few times and eventually we got an agreement.
"It was very amicable. Arsene made his case for the player. He worked hard to try to get him to stay.
"Once he accepted he was going to go he made sure we paid them plenty of money, but if he had been under contract for more than a year we would never have got him."