Manchester United has been linked to several high-profile attacking players since the season ended, including Luka Modric, but the team also needs a defensive midfielder. Dutch star Kevin Strootman would be an ideal fit to fill the void.
David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror reports that Sir Alex Ferguson has interest in the PSV Eindhoven rising star and has been weighing his options concerning a potential £14 million move. No final decision is expected until after Euro 2012.
Strootman has already asserted himself as a physical force for the Eredivisie contenders. That's not something you often see with a 22-year-old player, which significantly increases his upside and should make him even more valuable moving forward.
The Red Devils have been targeting more of the younger players in recent seasons, instead of relying heavily on high-priced veterans with limited long-term potential. It will take a couple more seasons before the strategy pays off, but it's definitely helped the team avoid bidding wars with its rivals.
A potential Strootman move would fall into the same category. He's still a developing player, so United would be able to get him before his value peaks while also filling a key need before next season. Since other clubs haven't shown much interest, it should keep the price reasonable, as well.
The defensive midfield spot has become a bigger concern recently because Darren Fletcher, who has held down the position for the better part of the decade, still faces injury questions. United has to protect itself in case he never returns to full strength.
Even though Strootman still has to become more comfortable in his role as a distributor, he has shown glimpses of great vision on the attack. If given extended playing time with a talented squad around him, he should begin to excel in that phase of the game as well.
The Red Devils feel one point short of winning another Premier League title, and based on the amount of activity already, the powerhouse team is using that as motivation in the transfer window. Ferguson won't rest until Manchester City is back in the rear-view mirror.
While Strootman won't be able to cause that jump himself, there's a good chance he would play a key role in making sure United has a more complete lineup next season. He's a versatile player and it won't be long before his value goes through the roof after gaining more experience.
He fits the mold of Ferguson's moves in recent years, and has the talent to help the team right away. The Red Devils shouldn't pass on that combination.