Friday Kickoff: Van Persie hopes for Man United extension; Hoeness resigns from Bayern; and more

RobinVanPersieManUnited1-WestBromwichAlbion (Getty)


After weeks of slow churning from the rumor mill, Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie has addressed rumors that he wants to leave.

The Dutch international told Man United’s match-day program, United Review, that contrary to reports, he’s glad to be at Man United and he hopes that he can even extend his stay beyond June 2016, when his current deal ends.

“What I need to address are the situations when people are taking it upon themselves to think for me, make assumptions, or interpret things as if they are me,” Van Persie said. “Last time I checked my head was still attached to my body, so I’m the only one who knows exactly what I’m feeling and that is not what I or the fans have been reading.

“The truth is I’m very happy here at this club. I signed for four years and I’d be delighted to stay even longer, beyond the next two years I have left on my contract. This is how I feel, although it’s not what has been suggested in the media.”

Van Persie also backed David Moyes to help turn around Man United’s fortunes in the future. The 30-year-old has struggled through thigh and groin injuries this season but has still managed to score 14 goals in all competitions.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:


Bayern Munich are looking for a new president.

One day after Uli Hoeness was sentenced to more than three years in jail by a German court for tax evasion, the former Bayern player resigned from his position as president of the club, effective immediately.

“After discussing the matter with my family I have decided to accept the judgment passed by Munich District Court (Landgericht) II regarding my tax affairs,” Hoeness wrote on Bayern’s website. “I have instructed my legal representatives not to appeal the verdict. This corresponds to my understanding of integrity, decorum and personal responsibility. Evading tax was the biggest mistake of my life. I accept the consequences of this mistake.

“Furthermore I hereby resign the offices of president of FC Bayern München e.V. and chairman of the FC Bayern München AG supervisory board with immediate effect. By doing so I wish to avert further damage to my club. FC Bayern München is my life’s work and will always remain so. I will continue to be associated with this magnificent club and its people in other ways for as long as I live.”

Hoeness was convicted of withholding 27.2 million euros ($38.8 million) in income that he hid in an undisclosed Swiss bank. Hoeness was originally investigated for not paying 3.5 million euros in taxes but Hoeness and his attorneys soon provided more information that proved the number was much higher.


Following three days of waiting, Arsenal have learned the severity of Mesut Özil’s injury.

At a press conference, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger disclosed the bad news for the club, saying that the club’s record signing Özil will miss three to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Özil was substituted at halftime of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich last Tuesday, which knocked the club out of the UEFA Champions League.

“We lose Özil, who has been injured for Sunday, I don’t know how long he will be out but it looks a minimum of three weeks,” Wenger told reporters, via The Guardian. “When the minimum is three, (then) the maximum is six. I am not specialist enough to know, it is a grade two hamstring (tear), so let’s say four weeks.

“It is of course a blow, but I am confident we have the quality to deal without him (Özil). We have many creative players who can take over to produce quality performances.”


Arsenal’s January loan signing Kim Källström is set to make his club debut on Sunday against Tottenham. (REPORT)

Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian center back Miranda wants to acquire a Spanish passport, though he won’t be able to play for Spain in the future. (REPORT)

Real Madrid full back Alvaro Arbeloa is likely to miss the next two months with a knee injury, but is still hopeful to make the World Cup squad. (REPORT)

Former Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero will leave Sydney FC at the end of the season in mid-April after the club didn’t offer the 39-year-old forward an extension. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Van Persie remaining at Man United through 2016? Do you Hoeness’ resignation affecting Bayern on the field? How big of a loss to the Arsenal XI is Özil?

Share your thoughts below.

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36 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Van Persie hopes for Man United extension; Hoeness resigns from Bayern; and more

  1. Grubbsbl says:

    Moyes is quietly showing his worth at United, despite the naysayers. He has solved the biggest crisis at United this season, coaxing a return to form for Rooney and persuading him to commit for the long term. The statements yesterday from RVP also suggests Moyes is cementing his authority on the squad. Even if RVP does leave this summer, these comments show it will be on United and Moyes’s terms, not Van Persie’s. And the January signing of Mata puts to rest every United hater’s critique that Moyes lacks the prestige and football knowledge to convince the top players to join his cause. Throw in Moyes’s development of Januzaj this term (confirming further that his history of nurturing talent at Everton was no fluke) and the movement behind the scenes suggests clear growth.

    • slowleftarm says:

      I think Moyes deserves more time but that’s a very optimistic viewpoint. The team just isn’t good enough at the moment in several areas so he’ll have to be busy in the transfer market this summer and choose wisely. Should be interesting.

      • Grubbsbl says:

        But that’s my point. United struggles this term appear to be result of two converging factors: lack of quality in the squad, most notably in the midfield; and the void created by the greatest manager of all time retiring. If we accept these two interpretations as the central causes of United’s poor form, it hard to judge Moyes on the results. So I looked elsewhere for my assessment (off the field managing and handling of youth). ANd I think the leadership and handling of these issues reveal a more nuanced assessment of Moyes first campaign.

        This will be a big summer, no doubt. But I’m confident Moyes’s transfer history and moves these season suggest he knows what he wants to do and where he wants to go.

        • michael f. sbi Mafia Original says:

          This is exactly right. No manager would have had it easy under these circumstances. Following the legend and inheriting an aging, weak through the midfield squad. Moyes probably thought the transfer windows would have been easier as well. His biggest fault IMHO is he hasn’t settled on his to 11. 30ish matches and he’s fielded 30-something different line-ups. That’s a big concern.

    • Gerard D. says:

      His development? He was there before Moyes, and this is literally the first season.

      As evidenced by Sir Alex, only Rooney decides when Rooney wants to be in form.

      They’re still losing games and have almost no chance at UCL and might even miss EL.

      • Grubbsbl says:

        Januzaj went from a reserve player this summer to a key member of the first team under Moyes’s watch. Some could say that this was inevitable given the young mans class. But from a managerial standpoint Moyes has handled the kid very well. Moyes secured a long term deal for Januzaj as Europe’s elite eyed another Pogba moment, while simultaneously keeping the young players head on the ground. For a club whose identity is tied to nurturing its academy’s talent, that’s a clear signal.

        As for my your comment on Rooney, I think that misreads the level to which Fergie and Rooney’s relationship collapsed.

        And missing out on CL or the EL next season does nothing to the long term standing of the club. Mata’s signing, Rooney’s extension and RVPs public call for an extension show.

        • Gerard D. says:

          United stand to lose more than 100 million dollars if they don’t make the Champions League. Nearly 200 million if they miss out on Europa as well.

          • Turgid Jacobian says:

            Not sure how you get those numbers? They both seem high. The purses definitely don’t make it there. Neither would the limited gate. They get paid hideous amounts for broadcast?

            • Gerard D. says:

              link to

              Missing out on Champions League would result in a direct loss of 86 million in projected revenues for the year–and there’s a great guardian article–can’t find it unfortunately–that talked about the indirect financial damages to the brand and sales that are expected without the tv presence in other countries for United.

              The brand damage and sales drops was estimated at nearly as high as the loss in direct tv contract, purse, and gate revenue.

              • grubbsbl says:

                I am inclined to question almost anything that the Daily Mail produces, though thank you for sharing the article.

                No doubt the loss of revenue will hurt, but United is a diverse business with multiple revenue streams. An alternative marker of United’s strong financial standing would be market cues. Baron Capitals recent investment of 150 million suggests wealthy investors don’t fear a season outside of Europe.

              • grubbsbl says:

                To your statement about additional commercial revenue loss. Woodward said it best: an English team close to United continues to sell lots of shirts despite not competing in Europe, or winning the EPL.

              • Turgid Jacobian says:

                Thx for link–I would not generally expect so large a swing in merch for such a powerhouse team.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Alternative theory, he’s taken a 1st place team — albeit one that played better than the sum of its parts for Fergie — and made it a 6th place team. He has re-signed one semi-malcontent player with whom he has previously had issues, whose form has eroded somewhat (Rooney) and who signed young and thus may have limited shelf time left. He’s now considering re-signing a productive scorer (RvP) who while still pretty productive may be showing signs of age. Januzj has been in the club system since 2011, was poached from Brussels based on talent, and was already seen as coming along enough to have a first team number last year.

      • Grubbsbl says:

        Thanks for the response. I find your set of competing interpretations plausible but not quite accurate on a few accounts.

        Anyone who has watched United over the past 3 seasons could see the slump coming. Moyes continued last season’s pattern of play and deep defensive line. I don’t think anyone saw Rio and Vidic’s complete collapse of form coming. And losing Carrick, Rooney and RVP for large parts of the season fully exposed all the cracks in the squad.

        The Rooney case is almost too complex for a single post. But I would even challenge the narrative of the players decline. Last season was undoubtably a career worst for Rooney, but he still had better offensive numbers than Juan Mata’s campaign at Chelsea. Moyes knows Rooney better than anyone, so I’ll defer to his judgement if he feels Rooney is the guy to lead his new team.

        As for Januzaj, young players from small clubs are poached by big clubs daily. It doesn’t mean they have to come good.

        I imagine Moyes has informed RVP that he would like the striker to stay but that his place in the squad isn’t a lock going forward, and the striker still comes out publicly for a contract. That’s telling.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          The problem with your theory to the extent it is intended to rehabilitate the coach, is he is doing worse with many of the same players than his predecessor. A significant portion of the team’s slide down the table is less effectiveness in Fergie Time. I grant the team was eroding an won despite a lot of GA last season. But they did win, which suggests a better coach could do more. Which is a tacit acknowledgement the team itself is not entirely to blame, that they react less effectively to Moyes.

          Also, since the actual new player influx is limited (Mata), and the team’s performance is eroded, it’s hard for me to buy the “but he’s bought new people and is righting the ship” argument. Fellaini whom he brought over from Everton has actually not fit in well at all.

          In terms of the player erosion narrative, Rooney has thus far this season scored a number more in order with his Everton youth numbers, which is well down from scoring 30+ a few years back at peak. Van Persie’s 14 is down from 20-30 goals a year in recent years. We can blame injuries in both cases but if the health is not reversed then the injuries are not exceptional but the new reality. Talk to Stu Holden, who would be a great player, if…….

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            …..and the strikers with potential injury problems are those MOYES is re-signing. You might be able to blame inertia or Fergie or something for players getting old and such, but if you actively adopt your predecessor’s players — extend their deals — they become your own for judgment purposes.

          • grubbsbl says:

            I wonder if your statement that “a significant portion of the teams slide has been a decline in Fergie time” is true. I can only think of Fulham at home and Cardiff away as games in which United threw away points conceding late goals (I would love to see a chart lol). The larger problem seems to be a team that lacks midfield drive and muscle. The team regularly looks pedestrian in possession, doesn’t have anyone to link play from front to back within any intent, and is vulnerable to quick counters (Spurs, Newcastle, and Everton losses at home all showed this).

            But to address your statement more directly, Moyes was always going to face a learning curve when asked to close out games at this level. Fergie had 25 yrs plus experience to help him with subs and tactically switches late on. Time will tell if Moyes can make the jump, but I am prepared to say he has a fine advisor to help him in that regard.

            The comparative use of Rooney and RVP’s goal stats is a little misleading because neither has featured in a large number of games this season. And Rooney’s game has evolved from being the striker who leads the line to a number 10.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              I can’t do a game flow explanation citing comebacks and non-come-backs, but I did watch Moyes blow FFC and was unimpressed. Conversely, I remember MUFC coming back from 3 down to CFC last season. You can look at a fixture list and see they have lost a lot this year 1-0 and tied several times 2-2. Last yearlost fewer 1-0, they won more than a half dozen games 4-3 or 3-2. They also kept fighting back in that epic WBA contest 5-5 even when everything was resolved. The GA is similar pace this year, what has changed is GF and the ability to simply outscore opponents if necessary. Maybe it’s injuries and erosion in attacking players — but then why re-sign — and maybe it’s part the will to get that goal at the end, which I’m sorry seems qualitatively different this year.

              I’ve made this point umpteen times but will make it again. Fergie won a European Cup at Aberdeen. That’s beyond Mourinho winning UCL at Porto. Moyes’ pedigree of losing in cup finals and having smaller clubs over-perform is not of the same level as the CVs of the dominant managers this season. He’s a good coach with weaker sides but is he the sort who can drive overdogs to championships, even in an off year? No. He’s no Fergie. He hasn’t had to win anything at Everton, which disguises whether he has the necessaries to win with a more competitive side.

              It’s not misleading to point out their goal totals because I actually located them in part in the context of them being injured. I didn’t hide or run from that excuse. My point was that maybe they are falling apart like Stu Holden and you can’t expect a player on the injury downslope to appear in as many games and score as many goals. It helps explain the erosion but if it is a fact of like it’s not really an excuse…..particularly if I am putting pen to paper with the player after their appearances have transparently dropped.

              • grubbsbl says:

                I was joking about the chart (how dare you not support your statements with empirical data on a discussion board!!!). I do though think you are conflating two different points :1) losing games closely and 2) struggles in “Fergie time.” I think, yes, Moyes has mismanaged a game or two. But United struggles go way beyond the impressive motivational and tactical brilliance of Fergie.

                Would this United team be better with Sir Alex Ferguson? Yes, undoubtably. But remember he finished 3rd once in the early 2000s as he transitioned from his treble side to Ronaldo’s. This squad’s transition is harder because the previous one continued the nucleus of Giggs, Neville and Scholes. Additionally, the club is also undergoing the complete restructuring of its coaching staff.

                Selecting Mourinho as the next coach might have galvanized senior players like Rio, Vidic, Evra, Carrick and Valencia who have been poor this season into another win. But appointing Jose wouldn’t have solved the longterm problems, and United would have just delayed rebuilding a year or two. Ferguson understood this and walk away to allow another person the opportunity to build a squad.

                There will be plenty of time to judge Moyes’s ability at the highest level. But lets give him a chance to build a squad in before we condemn his coaching abilities.

          • GW says:

            ” A significant portion of the team’s slide down the table is less effectiveness in Fergie Time. I grant the team was eroding an won despite a lot of GA last season. But they did win, which suggests a better coach could do more. Which is a tacit acknowledgement the team itself is not entirely to blame, that they react less effectively to Moyes.”

            The other, simpler expanation for this is that you can only go to the well so often and that all the players involved who had been accustomed to Fergie time, are a year older.

            Nothing lasts forever.

    • Bean says:

      I’d imagine if Moyes is humiliated at Old Trafford by Liverpool, and also loses at home to Olymiakos, that he may not see another transfer window with United.

    • William the Terror says:

      Moyes stinks. And comparing him to Sir Alex is like comparing Bobby Flay to the guy working behind the grill at the Waffle House.

      • GW says:

        “Flay dropped out of high school at age 17.Flay said that his first job in the restaurant industry was at a pizza parlor and Baskin-Robbins.”

        It looks like Flay used to be the guy behind the grill at the Waffle House.

        • William the Terror says:

          Moyes isn’t 17.

          So, Flay started at the bottom, seized upon better opportunities and made something of himself. Moyes was already a Premier League manager, had an exalted position handed to him on a silver platter, and has botched it miserably. He stinks. He couldn’t man the helm at Chivas USA.

          and, most Waffle House cooks don’t wind up on Food Network. They wind up in drug court.

          • Expat4455 says:

            LOL, GW got you good William the TERROR.

            GW 1: the Terror:0

            • William the Terror says:

              Yeah. That was a snappy comeback, I’ll admit. Doesn’t change the fact that Moyes is the wrong man for the job.

              • GW says:

                Mr. T.

                I have a hard thinking anyone would be the right man.

                You don’t replace an SAF. Eventually you have to change the entire culture by bringing in a Klopp or a Mourinho.

                But Man U were not ready to do that. And of course, SAF was not willing to let them do that

                Moyes is there because SAF picked him. I think he sees himself in him and expects Moyes to grow into it. Now whether this makes sense or not, the management have bought into it for now because having Moyes succeed would minimize the culture shock of losing SAF.

                I don’t know how much more time Moyes will get but if he doesn’t succeed and soon then everyone at Man U. will just have to grow up and face the fact that it’s a brand new world now.

  2. Philadelphia Collins says:

    Del Piero to MLS…?

  3. Expat4455 says:

    I can’t wait ’till Sunday to join the gang at the pub to watch Liverpool go into Old Trafford. Let’s see how the match will come out but I feel good about it. And yes, I am a Liverpool fan.

  4. The Imperative Voice says:

    FWIW, a potential mid March unveiling is why Arsenal fans were crabby about Kallstrom in the winter window. Gunners have gone from leading the league to looking at the very real potential of finishing behind CFC, Reds, and City (in that order).

  5. Brain Guy says:

    We’ll know MLS has truly arrived when an official of one of its teams gets into tax trouble. That’s when you know you’re a big club.

    • Gerard D. says:

      We’ll know America has arrived when said powerful person is sentenced to more than three years in prison.

      Go Germany!