Manchester United Transfer Rumors: Scouting Kevin Strootman

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterNovember 26, 2012

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 25:  Kevin Strootman of PSV Eindhoven takes the ball past Viktor Lundberg of AIK during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between PSV Eindhoven and AIK held on October 25, 2012 at the PSV Stadion, in Eindhoven, Netherlands. (Photo by Vincent Jannink/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

SkySports, among a host of other media outlets, have reported on Manchester United's strong interest in Kevin Strootman.

The Dutch midfielder is reportedly a £15 million target for Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the summer, so here's everything you need to know about him.

Strootman was observed on multiple occasions—three games were analysed in full with screenshots taken from PSV Eindhoven's 5-1 victory over SC Heerenveen.

 

Defensive Capabilities

Strootman plays in a holding midfield pivot in PSV's 4-2-3-1, remaining a rare constant in a revolving Boeren lineup. He's partnered Mark van Bommel, Marcel Ritzmaier and Atiba Hutchinson due to injuries, but a lack of continuity hasn't stopped them destroying everything in their path.

On first glance, one might believe him to be just a typical anchor due to his height, somatotype and long legs. While there is a lot more to his game, we'll look at his basics first.

Strootman times his tackles well and uses his body correctly. He's got a fair amount to throw about and he does so in a legal way, bringing force to his foot to make sure he comes away with the ball.

His positioning is as good as it can be in a PSV side who dominate the ball and score a bucket load of goals every game, but it's his eye for danger that really stands out.

Here, Luciano Narsigh gives the ball in dreadful circumstances. Strootman covers 15 yards at breakneck pace to intercept and help his team regain possession. He's the first to react.

 

In Possession

He's like a metronome. He keeps the ball rolling and offers an easy outlet at all times—not that tricksters Narsingh, Georginio Wijnaldum and Dries Mertens ever look any other direction than forward.

Football is a battle for space and time on the ball, and there aren't many players who are able to find this much space on a football field.

In the Rood-witten's 3-0 victory over Napoli in the UEFA Europa League, Strootman recorded 58 successful passes from 62 attempts, giving him a 94 percent completion rate. That's Joe Allen territory. He also recorded a monstrous nine tackles, breaking up play all over the field at will.

 

All-Round Ability

Strootman is a modern player.

Manchester United have come under criticism at times this season for a real lack of movement in their midfield. They have Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick, who despite being two pass-masters lack the energy to shift forward and force proceedings.

PSV's No. 8 sets himself apart from other prototypical 4-2-3-1 holding midfielders by possessing a thirst for getting forward and physicality to match.

When was the last time Carrick or Scholes did this? Mertens has attracted double-marking, while the overlapping Jetro Willems occupies a single man himself. With three players sucked out wide, Strootman doesn't hesitate to fill the gap.

He receives the pass, but fires over from an acute angle. Positivity is a big part of his game.

 

Conclusion

Any red flags surfacing due to him playing in the Eredivisie were promptly wiped by solid performances against Napoli and Dnipro in the Europa League.

Strootman is a shining example of the modern player—quick, strong, good with his feet and effective all over the pitch.

At the purported price of £15 million, the Dutchman is a fine purchase and could well be the player Sir Alex Ferguson so desperately needs.