Germany midfielder Toni Kroos could cap of yet another brilliant season by going to the World Cup as a Manchester United player. The Bayern Munich man has long been held in high regard by United, especially for the way he controlled the midfield when the reigning Champions League winners clinically dismantled Arsenal two years in a row.
Although a deal is far from done, Kroos fanned the flames last week when he told a press conference that he would consider joining a club not involved in the Champions League – a clear indication that he would be prepared to join United. The English champions will almost certainly have to win this year’s competition for automatic qualification next season due to a poor domestic campaign.
The player is under contract at the Allianz Arena until 2015, but while United hope that running down his contract will decrease his value, his form this season combined with a good World Cup will see other European giants upping the ante for his services.
Kroos is renowned for the way he dictates the pace of the game and controls the tempo. He is also a member of one of the strongest Germany squads in years. Despite winning three World Cups, the Germans have not won the tournament since 1990 when West Germany defeated holders Argentina in an ill-tempered final. The unified Germany only has the Euro 96 title to its name, which is disappointing by the country’s high standards when it comes to soccer.
While many say it is easy for a player to stand out in an average side, catching the eye when surrounded by good players has its own challenges. Kroos has done just that and on a consistent basis. For Munich he has been a key player for Pep Guardiola’s seemingly invincible side, which is firmly in control at the top of the Bundesliga and on course to become the first team ever to successfully defend the Champions League title in its current format. Due to his ability to play across the midfield, either in an attacking role, out wide or deeper, he has been described as Germany’s most naturally gifted player since the heyday of Germany and Munich legend, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Kroos is also adept at scoring from outside the box.
At international level, Kroos along with Philipp Lahm, Mesut Özil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus, will form a team to fear in Brazil. However, Kroos will have to be at his best if he is to help his side become the first European side to win the tournament in the Americas. It was not until the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that Spain became the first European nation to win the cup outside of the continent.
Germans are known for keeping their cool under pressure, while the passionate Latin players are often the opposite. This could be the tournament where Germany gets back to winning ways and it could be done with Kroos control.
World Cup Preview is a daily series providing commentary and analysis of the teams and players participating in this year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd