Kevin Strootman - Can van Gaal Afford To Wait?
The transfer window does not open officially until 1st July, however, the media are busy everyday with outrageous claims and counter claims over transfers. One such claim is that Louis van Gaal wants to sign Kevin Strootman, if the media reports are to be believed.
The problem is that Kevin Strootman is injured, and depending upon who you believe, he is likely to be unavailable until October this year at the earliest. Assuming that the other most touted transfer targets for Manchester United do not necessarily play in that position, the mainstream media is suggesting that van Gaal will still sanction a bid of around £25m for the player even though he knows that he will not be able to play until almost three months into the new season.
What Are The Alternatives To Kevin Strootman?
The suggestion therefore is that he will persevere with the existing midfield of Carrick, Fellaini and Cleverley! Now I am not a betting man, nor am I a clairvoyant, but I am pretty sure that van Gaal, having watched clips from last year, would have sleepless nights if he though that he had to rely on that motley crew.
As Moyes found out to his cost, having a great forward line-up will matter not a jot, if the midfield is as effective as a chocolate fireguard. Last season, Carrick was poor, Fellaini dreadful and Cleverley a joke. The latter even prompting fans to launch an appeal to have him banned from England!
However, harsh that may have been, Hodgson is not that daft that he would have chosen Cleverley for a World Cup squad given his abject performances. So, van Gaal may well bring forward a bid for Kevin Strootman to this summer rather than wait until January when he will probably be playing again.
Will Kevin Strootman be the same player after such an injury?
Who knows. Sir Alex Ferguson trusted in the doctors and surgeons when he bought van Nistelrooy after a similar injury and we all know how that ended up. The problem for van Gaal is that whilst he wants Kevin Strootman at Old Trafford, he also knows that he cannot rely on the trio of players mentioned above. He must therefore make that position a priority more than targeting any particular player.
Fans have been pushing for a solution to the midfield conundrum for a number of years since Roy Keane left the club, yet nothing appears to have been done. In Sir Alex Ferguson`s last season he had to resurrect Paul Scholes to shore up that position, but that was merely a stop-gap.
Kevin Strootman will be a good signing for this position when he is fit, but van Gaal cannot risk being 12 points behind the leaders in October when Strootman is ready. He must prioritize the position and forget the personnel this summer.