Former Manchester United player Jonny Evans has revealed how he and his teammates were shocked upon hearing that Alex Ferguson had signed Robin Van Persie from rival club Arsenal.
The former Arsenal club captain and Dutch international joined United in a £24 million deal prior to the 2012/2013 Premier League season.
Van Persie would go on to finish the season as the Premier League’s top scorer with 26 goals as the Red Devils secured a 20th league title in Ferguson’s last season at the club.
Evans described Van Persie as a “man on a mission” claiming the players were shocked upon hearing that he would be joining the club.
“It was a genius signing, to get someone from one of your rival clubs, where he’d been [for so long] – everyone was shocked,” Evans told The Guardian.
“He came to Manchester United to win the title, and he was a man on a mission that year.
“Ferguson loved people who could produce things out of the bag, moments of brilliance, moments of magic, and he had that in abundance.”
After losing the league title a year earlier on the final day of the season to city rivals Manchester City, Van Persie proved to be a vital cog in returning United to the top.
Van Persie famously clinched the title for United with a first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa at Old Trafford scoring a memorable volley on the run following a 60-yard pass from Wayne Rooney.
Evans admitted he is still in awe of what the striker could do describing that goal against Villa as “ridiculous”.
“Not many people take that shot on. It’s still ridiculous, now. Most would think: ‘Just get it under control.’ The run, the way he pulls off the defender’s shoulder, the way he finished: just world-class,’ said Evans.
“He’d been doing stuff like that in training. ‘I was marking him one day and the ball came to his chest on the edge of the box, and he set it up as if going to volley with his left.
“As I went to block, he’s volleyed it over my head, back on to his right foot, and volleyed it into the net. All in one movement. ‘He had this unbelievable finishing ability: left foot, right foot, with great power in his shots.
“The speed he got on the ball when putting it in the net was frightening. He was a natural-born finisher.”
Van Persie would remain at United until 2015 finishing his tenure with 48 goals in 86 games with Evans leaving in the same year for West Brom following a trophy-laden decade with the club.