Kevin Strootman sealed a switch to the Italian capital city from PSV Eindhoven earlier this summer, spurning interest from the Premier League.
Strootman came to prominence in his homeland initially with Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht, and really shot into the limelight in his two seasons with PSV Eindhoven. The no-nonsense midfield enforcer was linked with switches to the biggest teams in Europe, with United in particular a reported suitor as the 23-year-old continued to impress in the Eredivisie.
With 18 international caps under his belt for the Oranje, Strootman has become one of the brightest young midfielders in Europe, and completed a switch to Roma earlier in the transfer window for a fee in the region of €20 million.
However, with United and potentially Chelsea in the market for a new central midfielder this summer, have the Premier League pair made a blunder by allowing Strootman to slip through their fingers?
United’s priority is to bring in a central midfield player to add creativity and guile to their side, similar to what Paul Scholes offered in his prime. The pursuit of Thiago Alcantara and the continued efforts concerning Cesc Fabregas show this, and Strootman certainly is a different type of player to these pass-and-move specialists.
However, there is an argument that the English champions could benefit from bringing in a combative player to give them an edge in the centre of the park. Not since Roy Keane have United had a domineering ball winner in their team. With David Moyes potentially considering a move for Marouane Fellaini to fill this role and Phil Jones being deployed higher up the park as a stopgap, Strootman would have been a very able option for the Old Trafford side.
Chelsea’s focus this summer is seemingly on bringing in a striker to capitalise on the chances created by attacking trident Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata. Although the Blues continue to court Wayne Rooney and be linked to other attacking players from across the continent, there is an argument to suggest that Jose Mourinho should be looking to add a defensive player to his squad.
With Michael Essien not the all-encompassing player that he was in Mourinho’s first stint at Stamford Bridge, and Jon Obi Mikel failing to set the world alight in the role, Chelsea have an area of potential weakness.
Signing a player such as Strootman to partner one of the more attack-minded duo of Frank Lampard or Ramires in the boiler room would make sense. Rafa Bentiez used defender David Luiz in midfield last season to try and give his team a competitive edge in the middle of the park, largely due to Mikel’s ineffectiveness.
Whether Mourinho looks to bolster this area of his team remains to be seen, however Strootman would certainly not have looked out of place at Stamford Bride, and had the attributes to give the Chelsea midfield a cutting edge.
Strootman will continue his progression at Roma, and alongside Daniele De Rossi in the Giallorossi’s engine room will spearhead the team’s quest to make it back amongst Serie A’s elite.
image: © Jason Gulledge