Manchester United have been handed a fitness boost with the news that Michael Carrick has stepped up his recovery from an ankle problem.
The experienced midfielder was declared injured and out of action before the dust had even settled after Louis van Gaal walked into his Old Trafford office for the first time.
The Daily Star has revealed that Carrick has started rehab from the problem, with van Gaal’s original estimation suggesting Carrick is bang on to return to first team action in the middle of October.
“The England ace has begun his rehabilitation after undergoing surgery earlier this summer. Van Gaal initially feared Carrick would miss up to 12 weeks with the injury, something which he described as 'a huge blow'” reports the Star.
While Carrick is never going to be the grittiest or most aggressive midfielder in the Premier League, he is capable of providing that authoritative presence in the middle of the team which has been missing in his absence.
United failed to sign a holding midfielder before the close of the summer transfer window with the latest reports suggesting that van Gaal has an eye on a January move for Roma star Kevin Strootman.
However, the return of a fit and consistent Carrick, controlling the space in front of United’s back four and making it difficult for the opposition to play could delay a move for Strootman until next summer where it would be arguably realistic.
Strootman himself is currently injured and Roma have been patient and stuck by him when they could have forced him into a premature exit over the summer.
They could make a January exit difficult, preferring to sell him in the summer with United one of the sides interested when Roma are ready to do business with the Old Trafford giants.
Several great managers such as former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have previously said that big deals are more difficult to do in the winter and United could be in a better position, possibly with Champions League football, to move in the summer.
Having Carrick fit again means that while signing Strootman would be positive for the club, the time pressure will be eased unless a rival (PSG reported as interested this morning) sparks the bidding war.