Manchester United transfer target Kevin Strootman has suffered another injury setback, having undergone surgery just weeks after a return from a serious knee ligament injury.
The original injury forced Louis van Gaal to alter his plans while in charge of The Netherlands, deviating from his preferred 4-3-3 formation to the 3-5-2 system that is now familiar to fans of the Red Devils.
It is believed that Van Gaal is waiting until the summer to sign Strootman for United, in order to implement his favoured formation at the club.
However, the United manager should shelve his plans to sign the midfielder after this latest injury setback. Strootman has suffered fresh cartilage damage and his current manager, Rudi Garcia, has confirmed he will miss the rest of the season for A.S. Roma.
“Losing him, especially after a long injury, is a catastrophe for us," said Garcia.
"Losing him, especially after a long injury, is a catastrophe for us"
"The season is over for Strootman."
Despite Van Gaal’s undoubted loyalty to the Dutchman, this latest development means that with Strootman, the risk far outweighs any benefits that the midfielder may have. He will almost certainly cost over £25 million.
That is money that would be better served being put towards the signing of the likes of Paul Pogba or Radja Nainggollan, who has been linked with the Red Devils recently.
Shades of Owen Hargreaves
United’s pursuit of Strootman echoes their signing of the former Bayern Munich midfielder, Owen Hargreaves. After suffering from a series of knee injuries, related to his troubles with tendonitis, Hargreaves’ form improved and he starred for England in the 2006 World Cup.
Following a successful season with Bayern, he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2007. In his debut season, the England international enjoyed a fairly positive time at Old Trafford.
He scored two goals during their successful league campaign and started in the Champions League final of 2008, when United beat Chelsea on penalties. Nevertheless, following a good first season with the club, Hargreaves made only a handful of appearances due to his constant knee trouble, before leaving in 2011.
United will not want anything similar to happen again and should abandon any plans of signing Strootman even if he can prove his fitness before the end of the season.