Manchester United's new manager, Louis van Gaal, may be putting together last minute preparations for his Holland squad ahead of their World Cup kick off against holders Spain, but the Spanish press claim he has already made Old Trafford officials aware of talented young star he wouldn't mind acquiring.
Spanish newspaper El Confidencial have labelled one member of Van Gaal's squad the 'Dutch Xavi' and claimed the Netherlands boss has placed him high on the Red Devils' transfer list for a summer rebuild. Jordy Clasie has come through the ranks at Feyenoord and is continually adding to his reputation as one of the most technically accomplished young central midfielders in European football today.
Clasie's comparison with Xavi, according to the report, came when he begun to establish himself in the Eredivisie as an accomplished playmaker and terrific passer of the ball, in spite of his size. Small, technically gifted, excellent passer, cool under pressure when on the ball - one can understand Xavi comparison.
If Manchester United were to successfully sign him this summer and he eventually turned into a player as good as the Spain and Barcelona legend, then there would be no doubt it was a shrewd move - but it is a big 'if'. Anyone who has watched Clasie will have no doubt about his ability, but the issue that could become a problem in the Premier League is one that nearly derailed his career before it took.
El Confidencial's report claims that Feyenoord youth coaches nearly cut Clasie loose as a youngster due to his small stature, fearing that the rigours of top flight football would be too much for him. While he has not exactly blossomed in the height stakes, he has become far more solid and, probably more importantly, he has terrific balance and that knack of being able to turn away from challenges before they become battles of physical prowess - much like Xavi.
Developing that way in Eredivisie is one thing, but the Premier League is played at a pace alien to most other European leagues and there re no avoiding the physical encounters, especially so when you are playing in the central midfield. Clasie would almost certainly need a season to settle into the rhythm of things, but there is hope of success when he looks at how successful the likes of David Silva and Santi Cazorla have been in switching from La Liga, which is played at almost pedestrian pace compared to the Premier League.
The report claims Van Gaal is ready to rebuild Manchester United and will do so in a fashion that is centred in his management style, which demands short passing at a fast pace and requires players to be tactically excellent. Perhaps signing a player whom he trusts on the international stage to be the centre of the play is a shrewd move if his style is to succeed at taking the Old Trafford club back into the Champions League.
Clasie is only 22 years old and the financial constraints felt by most clubs from Holland mean he is unlikely to break the bank, but Feyenoord will know they have a gem on their hands and are unlikely to let him go on the cheap. There may be concerns physically about him, but he has proved he can step up when it has been required in his career so far, so don't put it past him to repeat that at Manchester United.
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