Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United's attack as good as 1999 treble winners, says Ferguson after Van Persie signing

By Martin Hardy

Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of his delight yesterday at the capture of the Arsenal forward Robin van Persie after a long pursuit. Manchester United beat off competition from Juventus and Manchester City to land last season's double player of the year in a deal that could eventually rise to as much as £24m.

Van Persie underwent his medical in Manchester yesterday and is in line to make his debut for his new side on Monday against Everton at Goodison Park. Ferguson, who now has Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Van Persie at his disposal, drew comparisons with the quartet that helped United win the treble in 1999.

"We are delighted with that [the Van Persie deal], of course," he said. "He's on his way up from London and will have a medical but sometimes medicals take a little longer and it may carry on until tomorrow. But I'm sure that he will be available for Monday's game.

"Wayne Rooney and Van Persie are two fantastic players and it's great to have both of them. What it gives us is more strength and combinations up front. Going back to the 1999 season, we had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Solskjaer – the four best strikers in Europe.

"We're getting towards that now with Wayne, Robin, 'Chicharito' and Danny Welbeck. It's a fantastic collection of players. I just hope I pick the right combinations.

"It's great to have a player of the quality of Van Persie to come into the squad as it is. I am really pleased."

Rooney, meanwhile, has spoken of his delight at the return to full fitness of midfielder Tom Cleverley. "Tom was fantastic at the Olympics," Rooney said. "He worked really hard last season to try to get back fit. He started the season really well last season but, unfortunately, got injured. He worked hard to get back fit and it's shown now that the Olympics have helped him.

"He looked fit and sharp last night and had a great game for England. That's only going to be good for us and I'm looking forward to getting him back playing.

"I don't set myself targets of goals or whatever. I just want to be playing and trying to help the team win games and be successful. That's the main thing for us as a team."

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