Manchester United’s interest in Kevin Strootman is an open secret. The Roma midfielder is expected to join Old Trafford, but whether his transfer takes place this January or next summer remains to be seen.
James Ducker of The Times reported last week that Manchester United are ‘firmly expected’ to bid for Strootman, while Mark Ogden of The Telegraph claims his move next year could be delayed until the summer, should Roma beat Manchester City and progress to the knock rounds of the Champions League.
Money probably is not an issue for the Red Devils, as United are expected to do marquee signings in the coming transfer windows as well, with Louis van Gaal wants to sculpt the squad according to his own taste.
According to Hugo Borst, the Dutch journalist, author of ‘O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal,’ is convinced that Strootman will join Manchester United, and that Van Gaal is determined to sign the 24-year-old.
“Van Gaal asked in that conversation if Strootman would be interested to play for Manchester United,” Borst said. “They have already shaken hands.”
However it is easier than done. First of all, Roma, who are one of the genuine contenders for the Serie A title, are reluctant to sell Strootman at any cost.
Back in October I wrote this for Soccerlens, relaying the info from BBC:
James Pallotta, the Roma owner, has once again made it clear that Kevin Strootman will not be sold to Manchester United.
“It is just not happening,” Roma’s billionaire owner told BBC Sport at the Leaders in Football Conference.
“I have told the papers that they should stop wasting paper. We don’t have any interest in selling Kevin.”
He says that if United want to discuss about his transfer, they would be courteous to listen to it, but even a €80m bid won’t be enough to price him away from Roma.
“If United wants to talk, we will sit down and listen to them. Yet even with a bid of €80 million, we will not agree,” he added.
Ogden believes that Roma will demand something in region of €100m, in case they become powerless against United’s continuous pressure.
Secondly, Strootman has remained tight-lipped on his future, preferring to focus on his fitness instead. Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and playing for them brings prestige and glory and all that, but at the same time, Strootman will make sure he gets regular European games as well. Therefore, Strootman’s transfer could depend on United’s final position in the league table as well.
But the most important thing that should decide the transfer is his fitness. Anterior cruciate ligament injury is one of the worst injuries that can happen to anyone, not to talk about a footballer. We have examples where players suffering from it, has become prone to further injuries and failing to rediscover old form.
United have had bad experience with injuries (Hergreaves, anyone?) and therefore they must pay full attention to it, before taking the final decision on Strootman.