Often referred to as ‘the Dutch Roy Keane’, former PSV star Kevin Strootman is the dynamic and industrious box-to-box midfielder Manchester United should have signed last summer ahead of £28million flop Marouane Fellaini.
The 24 year-old was snapped up by Roma instead in a €17million deal and his talismanic performances since have secured Giallorossi a second-place finish in Serie A – their best domestic form since 2009/10.
Along the way, the Netherlands international has amassed five goals and six assists in 25 league outings, but Strootman’s combination of defensive tenacity and creativity going forward is best represented by his current averages of 3.3 tackles and 1.9 key passes per match.
A natural leader too, Strootman served as club captain at PSV and has even worn the armband for Oranje on occasion, despite his tender age.
Louis van Gaal is the man who offered Strootman his country’s skipper-ship temporarily and having worked with him closely via the Holland set-up over the past two years, he’s widely expected to make the Dutch ball-winner one of his first signings at Old Trafford.
That could come at a cost of over £30million however, with Roma under no immediate obligation to sell, whilst Liverpool and Real Madrid are also known to be keen on Stadio Olympico’s latest star.