Manchester United hopes to solve its midfield issues with a summer transfer signing of Toni Kroos, who remains in play due to his contract deadlock with Bayern Munich. After a disappointing season in which ManU failed to make the Champions League cut, soon to be new Louis van Gaal could make a splash and bolster the side by adding the ball dominating Kroos. The midfielder has not said he wants to leave Bayern, but contract negotiations with the German club are stuck and Kroos will fit into the Red Devil’s budget.
The Munich club is apparently balking at Kroos’ requested salary of £150,000 per week to extend his contract beyond 2015. Honorary President Franz Beckenbauer warned Kroos against overplaying his hand, although a player in demand by a well-funded Premier League team will be paid one way or another, so the statement by Beckenbauer is likely negotiation bluster. Bayern appears to be concerned that a significant raise to the midfielder will upset its overall salary structure. No additional talks with the German team are currently planned, leaving the field open for a possible transfer move by the Old Trafford side.
Plugging Kroos into the midfield should help Manchester United in several ways. Kroos versatility helps both offense and defense. He does well controlling the ball in the midfield and distributes easily. In Champions League play this past season Kroos had a passing accuracy rate of 95.8, which was the highest among players participating in at least six games. In addition to heady passing, Kroos also is a good long-range shooter.
The cost to pry Kroos from Bayern likely increased this past week as the Munich club suffered the loss of Thiago Alcantara to a knee injury. Word was that the Red Devils were planning to offer Bayern a £40 million transfer fee for Kroos. In order to make good on its targeting of Toni Kroos, Manchester United will probably need to up the ante in order to secure the rights for the midfielder to play for them.
The Old Trafford club is coming off a disappointing season. David Moyes lasted only one season after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. The team missed the cut for Champions League for the first time since 1990. With always high expectations, van Gaal steps into a difficult situation with a club in need of rebuilding. Securing the rights to a strong two-way midfielder with excellent ball control skills would be a great place to start. Most commentators believe that the previous stint of Kroos playing under van Gaal will be an asset for inducing a potential transfer, but the status of their relationship may not be as strong as initially reported.
With the Manchester United club in need of a major restocking of talent and the potential availability of Toni Kroos, van Gaal will likely make a strong play to remain in contention for securing the rights to the targeted midfield standout. Van Gaal will be under pressure for quick success and strengthening the midfield group would be a good start. The Red Devil fans expect the world and often get it.
Commentary By William Costolo