Manchester United's interest in Kevin Strootman has been ongoing now for nearly three years and if Louis van Gaal is the man to succeed David Moyes then the current Netherlands coach may well prove the key to tying up a deal for Roma's midfield enforcer.
In November last year Dick Advocaat, Strootman's manager at PSV Eindhoven, was quoted as saying: "I do not think he will stay at Roma that long. If Kevin is at this level, he will be plucked away. And then it will be a team of the calibre of Manchester United."
Advocaat is a very experienced manager of over 35 years and for him to use Manchester United's name in this manner shows that the two-time Netherlands coach knows of a very strong interest in Strootman coming from Old Trafford.
If Van Gaal were to bring in the 24-year-old he chose as his captain for the 2014 World Cup then this could prove to be the perfect signing for United.
Strootman is a genuine box-to-box midfielder whose style of play resembles that of Yaya Toure, combining ferocious ball winning with a composed presence in the final third. Van Gaal, when discussing his Dutch team, described how: "Nobody is untouchable or guaranteed a place in the team except Robben, Van Persie and Strootman," which shows that he is a huge fan of Strootman's tough work ethic and grounded character.
One of the big concerns for any potential transfer, however, would be the serious knee injury Strootman suffered in March that has ruled him out for the rest of the Serie A season as well as this summer's World Cup. Knee injuries have so often cursed footballers' careers and Strootman is unlikely to come cheap having only been at Roma for a year, further enhancing the risk of signing a player so soon after such a serious injury.
If Van Gaal does end up landing the United job and feels comfortable with Strootman's fitness then the Dutch talisman could be a solution to United's long lasting midfield headache. Van Gaal's close relationship with Strootman may well paper over the cracks of a lack of Champions League football and could prove the clincher in United's first central midfield investment since the signing of Owen Hargreaves in 2007.
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