Manchester United legend encourages midfielder move

Van Der Sar

Kevin Strootman would be a good signing for Manchester United...at least according to one former great.

As another season reaches its climax and thoughts turn to summer reinforcements, Manchester United fans are likely to return to their familiar call to Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is the call for a midfield signing that many see as the missing piece of a jigsaw Ferguson called complete with the arrival of Robin van Persie.

And yet fans and pundits alike look at the United squad and feel there is still something missing. Some say they need a new Roy Keane, others a replacement for the ageing Paul Scholes.

Those calling for the latter will have been encouraged by reports linking Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara with the club. But it may not be a creative spark they are missing, more an engine room.

The simple truth is that as far ahead as United are in the league, they fell short in the cups, in matches they could and arguably should have won.

In those moments when they were striving for goals against Real Madrid in the Champions League and Chelsea in the FA Cup, as close as they came they were lacking a drive that most commonly comes from midfield.

With Nick Powell championed by many as an heir apparent to Scholes, the dynamic enforcer role is of far more importance to United.

So when former goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar was asked by Sport 360 about United’s apparent interest in PSV’s Kevin Strootman, his words were brief but telling.

While acknowledging the uncertainty of the rumour mill, Van Der Sar spoke of the history of Dutch signings at Old Trafford, himself included, and suggested that Strootman could continue that legacy.

At just 23, Strootman is an outstanding talent. And as defensive as reports may suggest him to be, he also scores his fair share of goals, as six in 28 league appearances this season shows.

The truth is he less a defensive midfielder, more a complete midfielder in the making.

A player young enough to improve but old enough to know his job, he would be the ideal signing for a team intent on building for the future while striving to maintain their current success.

The Dutchman’s temperament is also a selling point, as he has accrued only 6 yellow cards this season, and no reds.

Some enforcers make it very clear that is their job and get booked accordingly. Others, like Strootman, just quietly get on with it.

Holland’s national manager Louis van Gaal made Strootman his captain for the World Cup qualifying campaign when he was only 22, calling him an example both on the pitch and off it.

United have practically everything to call their jigsaw complete. The one man missing may ultimately prove out of their reach, but they should try everything they can to get him.

Is Strootman the missing piece for United?  And how far should they go to sign him?

image: © gordonflood.com

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