Manchester United Transfer News: Kevin Strootman, Enzo Perez Both Claim Interest

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2014

AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, of the Netherlands, celebrates after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Louis van Gaal’s revolution at Manchester United will likely see big-name players make their way to Old Trafford in the coming months, with speculation continuing to pile up as to which stars are Manchester-bound.

With Van Gaal’s Dutch connection as manager of the national team, links with some of his international players being lured to Manchester United were guaranteed—and Roma’s Kevin Strootman is the latest to be in the Old Trafford spotlight.

According to Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, United will launch a £30 million bid for the dynamic midfielder in January to improve the Red Devils’ personnel in the middle of the park.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 19:  Kevin Strootman of Netherlands runs with the ball during the International Friendly match between Netherlands and Colombia at Amsterdam ArenA on November 19, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Gett
Lars Baron/Getty Images

The highly rated Strootman scored five goals and grabbed six assists in Serie A last season, per WhoScored.com, keeping the side ticking over from a deeper position in the middle.

However, a knee injury suffered in March has forced the 24-year-old out of this summer’s World Cup with the Netherlands, as Eurosport reported:

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With Strootman unlikely to feature until autumn, United will reportedly wait until the January transfer window to get their man. His agent, Chris Dekker, was quick to point out that no formal contact has been made just yet, however, per Jackson:

He is of interest to Louis van Gaal but not related to Manchester United at this point. There has been nothing between the clubs or between Louis and Kevin—they know each other and like each other but at this stage its not related to Man United. Roma do not want to sell. The first thing is it’s all between [the] clubs. And its also a very difficult decision because he has to choose between a fantastic club in Rome, a club that bought him and supported him while he was injured and [then] you have his personal coach of the national team at United.

The admiration Van Gaal has for Strootman has seen him cement his place in the Dutch national side, making 25 appearances for his country.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 31:  Netherlands Manager, Louis van Gaal walks off the ground at full time during the International Friendly match between Netherlands and Ghana at De Kuip on May 31, 2014 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropou
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

If the future United boss can find a way to secure Strootman’s services, it would be a big step toward restoring the club’s stellar reputation in world football.

Likewise would the capture of Benfica midfielder Enzo Perez. Perez told TyC Sports that negotiations for his signature are ongoing, per talkSPORT: "There are negotiations between other clubs and Benfica about me. I know that Valencia and Manchester United are interested. There are serious possibilities to leave after the World Cup."

LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Enzo Perez of SL Benfica in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between SL Benfica and RSC Anderlecht held on September 17, 2013 at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo
EuroFootball/Getty Images

The 28-year-old is a big player for Argentina in the heart of midfield, with his vision and tough-tackling style sure to be key in the nation’s quest for glory in Brazil.

While having a player of Perez’s calibre discussing leaving Benfica will have United fans rubbing their hands together, the Argentine told O Jogo that he’s happy to remain in Portugal, per Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports.

"I am very happy at Benfica," Perez said. "I signed the contract renewal before travelling to join the Argentina squad, which shows that I want to keep wearing this shirt. I am feeling very well at Benfica and I know the club will try to do the best for me, I'll respect what they decide."

As central midfield is undoubtedly United’s weakest position, signings definitely need to be made if the Red Devils are to reverse their fortunes next season.

NAPLES, ITALY - AUGUST 09:  Enzo Perez of Benfca in action during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and SL Benfica at Stadio San Paolo on August 9, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

In Strootman and Perez, Van Gaal would be getting two of the best in the business, sure to be an interesting partnership if everything goes according to plan.

However, with Perez’s commitment to Benfica and Strootman facing more time on the sidelines, Van Gaal may have to keep shopping around for players who can work in United’s engine room over the coming months.


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