Why has Van Gaal abandonded Toni Kroos deal?
For all the understandable euphoria at United with Dutchman's arrival next week, there must be a concern that he might have got his first big decision at Old Trafford wrong
Published 09/07/2014 | 14:13
Manchester United fans may wonder why the red Devils have eased off in their pursuit of Toni Kroos
David Moyes has been much-maligned but had he remained as Manchester United manager then the likelihood is that the club would have lined up next season with a new central midfield pairing of Toni Kroos and Fernando.
Much of the criticism of Moyes is justified but he certainly did the ground-work to re-build the United team for the forthcoming campaign with several high-profile trips to Germany and talks with Kroos's representative and also Bayern Munich.
Those talks were productive and so much so that it was felt that a deal was in place to bring Kroos to the Premier League.
Moyes's sacking did not stop the signing of Luke Shaw from Southampton for £27m but it is Kroos's performances at this World Cup which must have United fans wondering that for all of Louis van Gaal's undoubted ability and confidence has he already made a mistake by not sanctioning the move?
United were prepared to try and hijack Fernando's £12m move to Manchester City from Porto - given they had balked at the £37m being demanded by Sporting Lisbon for their young midfielder William Carvalho - to provide the ball-winner in midfield to complement Kroos but the prospect of that deal for the Brazilian also fell through with Moyes' departure.
Kroos, meanwhile, has been the outstanding midfield player of the World Cup - his performances have gone from strength to strength culminating, so far, in the man-of-the-match award after Germany's astonishing 7-1 semi-final victory over Brazil.
According to sources at United a deal to sign Kroos was in place while Moyes was the manager. Van Gaal has apparently gone cold on that despite Moyes having put in the hard yards to pursue the 24-year-old midfielder who has just one year left on his contract at Bayern Munich and was prepared to quit for the Premier League.
What makes it all the more puzzling is that Van Gaal would have been aware of Kroos's qualities not least from during the coach's two-year stint in charge of Bayern when he was quick to promote other young talents such as Thomas Muller. After all it was Van Gaal who blooded Kroos in the Bayern first-team after his loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen.
Kroos is also able to play in a number of midfield roles - either as a deeper-lying holding player or further forward as a creative No 10. As he demonstrated against Brazil, with his two strikes, he also has an eye for goal.
Instead United appear to have stepped aside and allowed Real Madrid to make the running in signing Kroos after Bayern officially withdrew their offer of a new contract. A deal is expected to be announced after the World Cup final although Bayern insist that a fee has not yet been agreed.
United have signed Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, who was a target last summer, but as promising as the 24-year-old is he is not a proven international and Champions League performer like Kroos and is more of a gamble.
Undoubtedly the German's wage demands are high - and higher than Herrera's - although the fee would have been lower than the £29m that United had to pay to activate the Spaniard's buy-out clause.
Kroos would have cost closer to £20m and although he would have asked for wages near to the £250,000-a-week plus around £50,000 in guaranteed commercial deals being paid to Wayne Rooney are there many United supporters who would suggest that over the terms of a four or five year deal he would not be worth it?
For all the understandable euphoria at United with Van Gaal's arrival next week, possibly as a World Cup-winning coach, there must be a concern that he might have got his first big decision at Old Trafford wrong.