It’s potentially very bad news for Manchester United in their quest to sign PSV’s captain Kevin Strootman as a long term replacement for the retiring Paul Scholes.
Strootman is a powerhouse of a midfielder and a player that United have been tracking for well over a year. The fact United are changing managers doesn’t detract from the appeal of bringing him to Old Trafford although now that could be a lot more difficult.
Cocu has stepped up to the top job at PSV after working as Advocaat’s assistant and one of his main priorities has got to be improving the current squad as opposed to weakening it.
PSV have played second fiddle to Ajax in the Dutch league this season, which means it’s going to be all about tooling up for Cocu over letting one of his best players go to a European rival in United.
There is absolutely no pressure on him to address the issue of Strootman’s future at the club because he’s on a long contract, which expires in 2016 so there is no need to figure out a new contract just yet.
He will at least want the chance to try and win the Dutch league and that is something he’s likely to stress to Strootman, who may feel he owes Cocu that at the very least having only been at the club for the last two years.
Cocu will also be a very appealing figure of Strootman to work with. He played for Barcelona as a midfielder so it’s only natural for Strootman to try and learn even more from his countryman over leaving the club.
He also enjoyed an international career which spanned over 100 caps for the Netherlands, another reason for Strootman to respect his complete authority as the new boss of PSV.
It’s his philosophy as well which is bound to hit all of the right notes with Strootman because Cocu has stated he wants to use his reign to turn PSV into a club dependant on players from their own country, over foreign stars.
That’s a vision which is surely going to appeal to Strootman because he’s a Dutchman and he’ll more than likely find the chance to lead that sort of revolution as captain very appealing.
United would be very naïve not to try and sign him this summer, considering all of the emphasis on other higher profile transfer targets from other parts of Europe and the world.
However, if David Moyes goes to Old Trafford, realises he needs an extra body in midfield and Strootman is suggested to him, it could be a lot more difficult for the club to get him than they may appreciate at the moment.
Will Cocu signal an end to United’s Strootman bid?
image: © FaceMePLS