Despite not yet having been confirmed as Manchester United Louis van Gaal is reported to have requested the signing of Arjen Robben from Bayern Munich. The obvious reason for this move is Robben is experienced, on the biggest stage and in the Premier League, and has worked under van Gaal as Netherlands manager.
However, following their domestic cup success on Saturday, Bayern manager Guardiola was quick to emphasise how important Robben is to the future of the team. Given that Bayern are hardly strapped for cash, are playing in the Champions League, unlike United, and look likely to continue to win silverware, it’d be a strange move for Robben. Presumably, one engineered by money or any discontent he has at Bayern.
Whilst there are yet to be any rumblings of unhappiness from the Dutchman, Franck Ribery recently aired his displeasure with Guardiola’s rotation policy. Ribery, who has on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or this season, featured just 22 times in the Bundesliga this season, 18 of which were starts, the season before he started 24 times. Perhaps Unite would be better to make a move for the Frenchman.
At 31, Ribery is a year older than his teammate Robben, however, both of them still have the pace to terrify the life out of most defenders. Even in his limited number of appearances, Ribery still managed to score 10 goals and provide 10 assists, 1 less goal but 4 more assists than Robben. Those came in 2 more starts and 4 more substitute appearances than Ribery.
In the Manchester United team only Rooney had that many assists, and only he and van Persie scored more, but then the Premier League is widely regarded as a more competitive division. The creativity and goals either player could provide would be much appreciated at Old Trafford.
Both players averaged an impressive 2.7 shots per game. Ribery managed 5.5 dribbles per game, compared to Robben’s 3. The Dutchman created an average of 1.8 chances per game, again Ribery exceeded this figure, with 2.5 chances created.
Either player would be a good acquisition for van Gaal, or whoever it is who is to be the next ‘Chosen One’. But if I had to pick just one, based on the stats and what I’ve seen of him this season it’d be Ribery. Maybe that’s why I’m not a football manager.
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Statistics courtesy of WhoScored