In one of his first moves as the manager of Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal has rightfully ended speculation that United will target central midfielder Toni Kroos, from European giants Bayern Munich this summer.
The decision to remove themselves from the Kroos sweepstakes has been received with mixed reviews by the fans.
There is no question that Kroos is a very good player. But the question that needs to be asked, is how good can he be? And is he a player you can build a team around? That is the risk that is involved if United were to consider signing the German for a reported 20million.
For Van Gaal, who is working to rebuild Manchester United on the fly, is operating with very little room for error. If by signing Kroos becomes an mistake, such as signing Marounane Fellaini was by David Moyes, it would really hurt the progress of the team.
Kroos’ contract with Munich runs out in the summer of 2015. Which is why the player would like to re-sign long term or move to a new club this summer and avoid the year-long speculation that is certain to effect his game. However, the reason why Munich has been playing hard-ball with Kroos over his contract, and why he may be on the market, is not because Munich is facing financial problems to re-sign him, but because they are disappointed that Kroos hasn’t exactly developed into that “next” step. He hasn’t made a household name for himself such as Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm or Bastian Schweinsteiger have.
The biggest asset Kroos brings to the team is his passing. He is well known for having excellent vision and sending through balls and scouts rave about his “key passes”, plays made participially out of nothing. In the round of sixteen 2-0 win over Arsenal of the Champions League, Kroos made 144 passes, an incredible 97% pass success rate. Albeit against a 10 men Arsenal team. Per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga, Kroos makes an impressive 86 passes. However, one has to consider that Munich is build like a modern day dream team with stars in every direction. Pep Guardiola has installed a triangle offense which involves many small, low risk passes into open areas. He would not have the type of talent around him with Manchester United as he does with Bayern Munich.
Kroos plays the game with the emotion of a zombie. Not exactly a characteristic you want in a player to play in the Premier League, one of the toughest leagues in the world. He does not have physical box to box ability and does very poor in tackles. Kroos also very rarely wins aerial duels. Losing tackles and aerial duels would become more apparent in the Premier League, with better and tougher teams. His defensive statistics, based on last season in Germany, are very similar to those of what Tom Cleverley just did in the Premier League.
He also doesn’t create as much as people suppose. He isn’t the architect of the Munich offense. Kroos created 40 scoring chances last season, in 29 games played. For example, Kevin Strootman, playing in a defensive system in Roma created 47, while Marco Reus created 90 for Borussia Dortmund. Last season, Kroos scored 2 goals and added 4 assists.
If Kroos does leave Munich, he does have the ability to be successful. He would make a great complementary player and needs a top-notch physical player next to him, such as Xabi Alonso for example. Partnering him with Fellaini or Micheal Carrick just wouldn’t work. The difference is, he wouldn’t be coming here to be a complementary player, but as a player who would be vital part of the team going forward.
It’s too much of a risk at this point for Manchester United for a player who would be taken out of his elements and comfort zone with a very hefty price tag.