Robin van Persie says he signed for Manchester United with the understanding that then-manager Alex Ferguson would remain at the helm for some time, and believes he could still be with the club if that had been true.

Instead, the Dutch forward may be lining up against his former employer for Fenerbahce in Thursday’s Europa League group meeting.

“It could have been that I could have been a player for Manchester United today,” Van Persie said when asked if he’d still be at United if Ferguson had remained, according to PA Sport.

“When I signed that was the idea, that Sir Alex would stay on for a few more years, but in football things change, you can’t plan your own path or your coach’s path. In this world you have to deal with how it comes.”

In his first season at United after joining from Arsenal, Van Persie was the Red Devils’ Player of the Year as his side romped to the 2012-13 Premier League title. Ferguson retired following that triumph, though, and the striker then struggled for form, first under successor David Moyes’ watch, then under Louis van Gaal’s tutelage.

Since moving to Turkey in 2015, the 33-year-old has compiled a commendable 17 goals in 35 appearances, but hasn’t been able to establish himself as a starter for the Istanbul outfit.

If he’s entrusted with inclusion from the first whistle in the trip to Old Trafford, he simply aims to enjoy himself at a ground where he’s still held in high regard.

“What happened, happened. I don’t think you have to make it bigger than it is,” Van Persie continued.

“You shake hands and move on to the next chapter. I’m not that romantic, thinking ‘that was the moment …’ I will just do my lap, go in, and prepare for tomorrow.”

He added: “I have to find the right balance of having fun, enjoying the moment of being back here, and doing my work.”

Fenerbahce currently occupies top spot in Group A with four points from two matches, while Manchester United has three points and shares second place with Feyenoord.