Louis Van Gaal has identified Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman as a January transfer target for Manchester United, report The Guardian.
The Dutchman is recovering from a serious knee injury that has ruled him out of Van Gaal’s Holland squad for the World Cup in Brazil, with the 24-year-old not expected to play again until the autumn.
Consequently, Van Gaal he has decided to move for him in the New Year when he has fully recovered from his injury.
Strootman excelled during his initial few months in Italy and he had appeared 25 times in Serie A, before damaging his anterior ligament in March. Since joining Roma, he and Danielle De Rossi formed a dominant presence in midfield, with Miralem Pjanic adopting the more advanced playmaker role.
Pjanic is expected to be the main source of creativity, and he lived up to this reputation, fashioning 72 chances throughout the campaign. Meanwhile, Strootman created an impressive 47 goal scoring opportunities, assisting six goals, despite occupying a considerably deeper midfield position.
Strootman’s arrival at Old Trafford would certainly provide a boost in terms of creativity. He created a significantly greater number of chances than any of the current midfield. Juan Mata led the way with 33, whilst Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher failed to challenge the Dutchman, even when their totals are combined.
He would provide an even further improvement in terms of his ability to score. Despite missing the end of the season, he chipped in with a total of five goals for the Italian outfit. The Dutchman hit the target with 50% of his strikes, converting 17.9% of these goal scoring opportunities. Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick, either of whom Strootman is likely to replace, contributed just two goals between them this season.
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd||MF||1||29||2,413|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||MF||1||22||1,579|
Marouane Fellaini is currently the club’s most proactive midfielder in terms of his defensive contribution, having averaged six actions per match. However, the Belgian has faced a considerable struggle since making the switch from Everton last summer and it is likely Van Gaal will view him as an expendable asset.
Michael Carrick is arguably the Red Devil’s strongest option in Strootman’s position. He has averaged five defensive actions per match, a total superior to the Dutchman’s three.
It could be argued that Roma’s back-four has proven itself as the more efficient of the two club’s throughout the past season. After all, the Italians conceded just 25 goals in total, compared to the 43 of United. Therefore, Strootman will have found himself undertaking far fewer duties in the defensive third.
The Dutchman is a genuine "box to box" midfielder, a player Manchester United have been lacking for some time now. He can defend, as well as score goals and create chances. He would be a fantastic addition to the Manchester United midfield - a view that is likely to be shared by the vast majority of the club’s fans.