Louis van Gaal’s admiration for Kevin Strootman is no secret. Likewise, there’s no shortage of claims it’s only a matter of time before the United manager makes overtures to bring him to Old Trafford.
Prior to the World Cup, the Dutchman bemoaned the loss of the midfielder to a devastating knee injury. Strootman had been brilliant for new employers Roma last season until tearing his ACL in March.
Van Gaal’s Oranje would of course go on to impress in Brazil without the 24-year-old star. But with van Gaal now at United, Strootman’s long recovery process kept him away from his former international boss once again.
The 63-year-old simply couldn’t move for Strootman this summer, given that he won’t return to action until October at best. At any rate, Roma wouldn’t have been keen to give up their young star just a year on from signing him - although van Gaal could at least have tried.
A January bid for Strootman has in turn looked on the cards for some time. By then he’ll be fit again, with a chance to prove a major injury setback hasn’t impacted his prodigious ability.
Though still, the same issue remains for United. La Gazzetta dello Sport have revisited the idea of the Red Devils submitting a £24 million offer at the turn of the new year.
The quoted figure, however, doesn’t look to be enough. Roma are said to be sticking to their guns, unwilling to give up Strootman.
‘At Trigoria Strootman is considered non-transferrable,’ the newspaper write (note: no link, from paper edition). ‘But should the £24 million grow, who knows…’
The implication is rather simple. United will have to write a massive cheque to get their hands on the Dutchman when the transfer window opens again.
Roma have their best chance in years to win the Serie A title this term. Rudi Garcia’s men are seen by many as favourites over Juventus and the club hierarchy won’t want to jeopardise their shot at the Scudetto.
Furthermore, selling an essential player midway through the season would not only be a hit for the squad, but would anger a fan base that adores Strootman - and is notoriously unforgiving.
United will truly have to make it worth Roma’s while to get their man. As ever, robust spending power is the tool with which to overcome adversity in the transfer market.
The Red Devils already loosened the purse strings to the tune of £150 million this summer. If they harbour genuine hopes of landing Strootman too in just a matter of months, they’ll have to splash out in a big way once again.
Roma quite frankly have every reason not to sell a prize player they’ve been waiting patiently to return. And it stands to reason it’ll take significantly more than £24 million to revoke the ‘non-transferrable’ tag the Giallorossi have reportedly placed on Strootman.