Manchester United: Could Kevin Strootman Be Sir Alex's Only Signing This Summer?

Max TowleAnalyst IFebruary 19, 2013

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 25:  Kevin Strootman of PSV and Celso Borges of AIK battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group F match between PSV Eindhoven and AIK Solna at the Philips Stadion on October 25, 2012 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Manchester United are currently in the midst of a landmark season.

The team is fighting for glory on all major fronts—the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup—and playing with a confidence not seen in several years.

The bulk of the credit must naturally go to long-serving, long-suffering manager Sir Alex Ferguson for building yet another squad capable of winning games.

One of the shrewdest moves the wily old Scotsman has ever made in his career was to bring prolific striker Robin van Persie to Old Trafford this past summer.

The addition of the Dutchman has instantly transformed the Red Devils from a competent side to a group of world-beaters.

But is he the final piece missing from the jigsaw? Should United claim at least one trophy come May, how many players do the Glazers need to realistically shell out for?

A strong case can be made for the American owners keeping their hands in their pockets this summer.

Despite his awe-inspiring performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 last week, there are still some in the media who suppose David de Gea's place at Old Trafford is far from secure.

According to, "Manchester United are preparing to sell Anders Lindegaard in the summer as they make room for the arrival of top goalkeeper target Asmir Begovic."

It has been suggested that the potential signing of Begovic would see the talented shot-stopper compete with De Gea for the number one spot next term; but this concept could be fatal.

With the Spaniard's confidence as high as it has ever been, were a potential replacement to arrive at the club it would cast serious doubt over Sir Alex's faith in him.

Both De Gea and Begovic are excellent goalkeepers, and neither deserves to sit on the bench for half a season as would surely be the case.

There is little need for a new central defender to be bought in the summer, either.

But with Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling waiting in the wings, why would Sir Alex feel the need to overshadow two great prospects at the club?

Evans in particular has improved dramatically over the past 12 months, becoming one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League.

Besides, there is little chance of Ferdinand stunning the footballing world by announcing his retirement at the end of the season anyway.

The same goes for Patrice Evra. The energetic Frenchman is currently having a true renaissance season at Old Trafford, and deserves to play on as the team's No. 1 left-back for at least another campaign.

Leighton Baines, Everton's talented but expensive full-back, may eventually be an ideal replacement. But why kick the loyal Evra out the door prematurely?

There are questions regarding United's wingers, though.

None of Nani, Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia have found consistent form this season, all suffering from injuries and a likely loss of confidence.

This being said, it's difficult to see any of the above being sold this year, especially the latter two.

Nani could depart should a healthy offer arrive in Sir Alex's inbox, but there will probably be far too great a difference between United's valuation of the Portuguese International and what price clubs are willing to pay.

Let's also not forget the impending arrival of Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha.

It would be optimistic to suggest that the tricky winger will be immediately thrust into regular first-team action next term, but he is at least another option.

Lastly we come to United's attack, and what little needs to be said in regards to it.

The Red Devils' quartet of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez is as healthy a group of forwards as exists in Britain, and quite possibly Europe too.

Potential target Robert Lewandowski is a fantastic talent, but his services aren't yet needed at Old Trafford (via ESPN).

With all of this being said, there is one man whose services are needed by Sir Alex et al.

PSV's Kevin Strootman has been linked with United since the tail end of last season, and for good reason too (via

He is a powerful yet technically proficient box-to-box central midfielder who would fit in seamlessly with the nature of the Premier League.

His tackling and positioning on the back foot is superb while he can be a productive attacking player who utilises his good footwork and ability to receive and distribute the ball quickly, to maximum effect.

Late last year, his agent Chiel Dekker confirmed Sir Alex's interest in the Dutchman in an interview with talkSPORT.

He revealed, "All the top clubs in Europe know about Kevin, but a move to England next summer is his first priority and, yes, Manchester United and other big clubs in Europe have been in touch with me" (h/t

Too many times this campaign, though more often in its early stages, United were overrun and overpowered by unlikely teams.

The Red Devils have talented players in Michael Carrick, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and even the absent Darren Fletcher in the middle, but none are a particularly commanding presence on the pitch. Strootman would help solve this dilemma.

Of course, there is still plenty of football to be played between now and May. Things could quickly turn sour for Sir Alex and his team.

But as things stand, with the squad built as it is and playing with such effectiveness, there is little need for reinforcement come the summer.

With the exception that is, of Kevin Strootman.

What do you think the Red Devil's summer transfer activity should be?


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