It's the rumour that stands to present every Manchester United fan with a nightmare that will deprive them of sleep until it's officially resolved: Robin van Persie handing in a transfer request at Manchester United.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for one second affirming my position as an individual who believes the gossip that Van Persie is desperate to jump ship is true, nor am I of the opinion that he should look to leave. However I do find myself wondering if he could, in the near future.

United's problems since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement have been documented to the point where it's practically a chore to read through how David Moyes can't capture his transfer targets, or how they're now set for mid-table mediocrity because of their poor start to the season.

But while those routine headlines make for little more than fodder for a heated debate concerning whether or not the reigning Premier League champions have truly lost their midas touch, the loss of a player such as RVP would drive home the reckoning that they really are on the way down.

The Dutch star is integral not only due to his abilities but also because of his stellar reputation as one of the game's top players.

However those who are kidding themselves into thinking that he falls into the same bracket as the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in his unerring love of the club need to realise, before they're bitterly disappointed, that he doesn't.

Because in truth there's every possibility that Van Persie could leave Old Trafford this year if their current slump fails to be addressed.