Kevin Strootman, the Dutch midfielder who plays in Italy with Roma, is a wanted man. Manchester United reportedly put in a £30 million bid for the midfielder who is valued at £22.5 million. However, is he the player that United need in their midfield?
Strootman is a 24-year-old who plays mainly as a central midfielder, but can also be utilised as defensive midfielder or on the left-hand side. He started his career at Sparta Rotterdam in 2008, where he made 72 appearances over a three-year period scoring 12 goals.
He moved to FC Utrecht in 2011, but only spent one season at the Stadion Galgenwaard, making 16 appearances and scoring two goals, before being sold to PSV Eindhoven in June 2011. While at PSV he made 88 appearances, scoring 14 goals.
He moved to AS Roma in the Serie A at the start of the 2013-14 season, making 29 appearances and scoring six goals before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Napoli in March of this year, which curtailed his involvement in Roma’s end of season campaign. He was also unable to add to the 25 caps he has earned for the Dutch national team at the World Cup in Brazil in June and July of this year.
Strootman is still very young at 24, but has been around for a good few years already. He has plenty of big game experience, having played in Europe for PSV during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. He is a very good all round midfielder, with very strong passing skills, being adept at seeing a key pass and when needed he won’t shy away from putting in a tackle or two. He has been called the Dutch Roy Keane, due to his uncompromising style of play.
So far in this transfer window United have brought in one midfielder, Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, for £29 million. He joins an already very capable midfield, on their day. Joining the likes of Mata, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Fletcher and Fellaini.
Adding Strootman to this midfield group seems like a very good policy to follow, considering Kagawa, Herrera and Mata are all attack minded. Fellaini is somewhat defensive minded, however, he plays better in a position higher up the pitch. Carrick is out for four months due to an injury and Darren Fletcher is stilling making a slow comeback from a debilitating bowel condition, which has restricted him to playing very little football since 2011.
Both Carrick and Fletcher are also over 30, so adding Strootman as another defensive midfield option seems like an imperative option. United were very fragile at the back last season. Many times you would see the defence left dreadfully exposed as the opposition cut through United’s midfield like a knife through butter, as Fellaini asked to be the holding midfielder a lot, went walkabout too often.
United also look as if they will miss out on their primary midfield target Arturo Vidal, as he has stated that he will not be leaving Juventus for Manchester, with Liverpool looking like the favourites to sign the Chilean if he does end up leaving ‘The Old Lady’ at all this summer.
United may actually land Strootman due to the attitude of Ed Woodward, the Vice-Chairman, who is the main contact between the ‘Iron Tulip’ and the board when it comes to transfers. Last summer Woodward and Moyes were shown to be inexperienced in the way they went about trying and failing to land players like Fabregas.
This summer, United got into the market and opened their wallet fast.
“The reality is that we’re not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market. Whether it’s a record or not doesn’t really resonate with us.”- Ed Woodward.
Secondly, Louis Van Gaal may be able to persuade Strootman to move as he has just left his post as the Netherlands head coach, and has worked previously with the aforementioned player.
Whatever happens getting hold of Strootman or someone of similar ilk seems like something that United need to do. It would give a more balanced look to the midfield and provide them with a better chance of getting back into the Top FOur and the all-important Champions League.
Jack McCann, Pundit Arena.