United were strongly linked with the Dutchman last summer before he left PSV Eindhoven to sign for Serie A giants Roma, where he has continued to develop into a top class consistent player.
A bad knee injury has ruled him out of this summer’s World Cup and imminent new United boss Louis van Gaal seems to have urged executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward into making a bid for the 24-year-old.
It all makes for a very nice picture if you’re a United fan but where exactly can he help United’s midfield next season?
He added five goals and six assists for Roma in Serie A before his injury, which area areas United’s midfield struggled compared to their main rivals last season.
United’s ability to control possession in midfield is unquestioned and they have very creative players in the form of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Wayne Rooney.
What they don’t have is a midfielder in the Frank Lampard mould, someone who can burst forward and make intelligent runs across the midfield to get into good positions.
Another area he would clearly make a difference is in terms of his tackling.
|Club||Pos||Total Tackle / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Marouane Fellaini||Man Utd||MF||2.75||16||1,106|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||MF||2.18||22||1,579|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd||MF||2.10||29||2,413|
|Luis Antonio Valencia||Man Utd||MF||1.69||29||1,940|
|Juan Mata||Man Utd||MF||1.13||15||1,230|
Strootman had an average of 3.3 tackles per game before his injury, which shows he gets stuck in and is aggressive under pressure in big games.
That’s a higher tackles per game rate than any United midfielder has managed this season, which suggests he’d add some real grit and fight into the middle of the team.
His long ball average per game is smaller than four of United’s current first team stars at 2.79 long balls per match.
|Club||Pos||Total Long Balls / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd||MF||7.52||29||2,413|
|Darren Fletcher||Man Utd||MF||6.50||12||779|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||MF||4.86||22||1,579|
|Juan Mata||Man Utd||MF||4.47||15||1,230|
|Shinji Kagawa||Man Utd||MF||2.78||18||1,170|
What that tells us is that he looks for the shorter pass to players in immediate advanced positions in the midfield.
It’s significant in terms of his defensive role and suggests he offloads the ball quickly when he wins back possession, which can utilise the pace United have in wide areas on the counter attack.
|Club||Pos||Total Pass / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd||MF||70.72||29||2,413|
|Juan Mata||Man Utd||MF||56.60||15||1,230|
|Darren Fletcher||Man Utd||MF||55.75||12||779|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||MF||51.68||22||1,579|
|Marouane Fellaini||Man Utd||MF||50.50||16||1,106|
|Shinji Kagawa||Man Utd||MF||39.28||18||1,170|
|Luis Antonio Valencia||Man Utd||MF||36.34||29||1,940|
In terms of the average number of passes per game he makes (58.8 per game before his injury), only Michael Carrick made more on average for United each match last season.