The Daily Telegraph’s Oliver Brown recently wrote: “More than William Carvalho at Sporting Lisbon, or Ilkay Gündogan at Borussia Dortmund, it is Kroos who potentially offers the single most effective antidote to United’s midfield malaise.”
What Toni Kroos represents to Manchester United is the midfield engine which has been missing at the club since the departure of Roy Keane.
Anyone who follows soccer understands the importance a club puts into the development of a strong “spine”. The success of a team can be attributed to the productivity of four positions: goalkeeper, central defender, midfielder and forward.
David Moyes is in the process of strengthening Manchester United and he knows the missing piece at the club has been a dominant, versatile midfielder. An individual who can provide additional protection to the team’s back four, be the linkup between defense and attack while also being a scoring threat going forward.
Moyes has identified Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich as that player. And in spite of the enormous obstacles the Scottish manager will have to navigate in order to secure the services of the 24-year-old midfielder, Moyes will not end his pursuit until the German international officially re-signs with the Bundesliga giants or puts pen to paper on a deal to join Manchester United.
Should United acquire Kroos, the spine of the club would start with David De Gea (Spain’s future #1 goalkeeper), then progress through the defender Phil Jones (who has been tapped as England’s next great centre-back), continue with the midfielding versatility of Toni Kroos and ultimately end with the scoring capabilities of Wayne Rooney (the fourth leading goal scorer in Premier League history and future captain of Manchester United).
These four players all share similar characteristics: confidence, competitiveness and skill. Jones and Rooney are the type of outfield players any club would want to build its squad around due their versatility, aggression and passion.
Toni Kroos has been this kind of player for Bayern Munich since his arrival on the first team. All one has to do is look at his performances in the past two Champions League campaigns.
Kroos man-marking of Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo completely shut down the Italians attacking options and ensured his club’s progression into the semi-finals of last season’s competition. While this year, Kroos dominant, all-around display against Arsenal at the Emirates all but guaranteed Bayern Munich’s spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The midfielder has shown his competitiveness while being substituted for other players at Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola’s rotational policy means some players need to sacrifice their own ego for the good of the team. After being subbed against VfB Stuttgart earlier in the season, Kroos threw his gloves off in frustration. And more recently he was seen having “serious” discussions with Guardiola following his substitution during the first leg of his club’s Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.
Kroos inclusion to Manchester United’s squad would create one of the most feared spines in all of European football. In addition to this spine would of course be the playmaking skills of newly acquired Juan Mata, accompanied by the cutting edge attacking skills of 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj and Danny Welbeck.
Suddenly, with one addition, United’s attack would be infused with a blend of creativity, power and pace. That is why David Moyes will exhaust every effort in an attempt to secure the Bavarian’s signature.
Recent comments from chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and manager Pep Guardiola have emphatically stated that Kroos will return in a Bayern Munich uniform next season.
According to the player, contract talks have discontinued and won’t start again until after the World Cup. That time table will be upsetting to all parties.
More disappointing news for United fans surfaced this week when Spanish media outlets began reporting that Real Madrid have joined the race to acquire Kroos, with the Bernabeu club willing to give the German a choice of either joining them this summer or when his contract runs out.
Following their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, Kroos professed his loyalty to the club: “I belong to Bayern Munich.” When pressed further by a Dutch reporter: “What are the chances you will play a lot more here [Old Trafford]?” Kroos’ response was: “Future I decide later.”
Skeptics have ruled out Toni Kroos signing for Manchester United by stating his involvement with the English is just the player and his agent’s way of using Moyes as leverage to get a better deal from Bayern Munich. While this may be the case, Felix Kroos (Toni’s younger brother who plays for Werder Bremen) recently admitted he and Toni have had conversations about a potential move to Manchester United.
Kroos himself has also stated: “It is no secret that the Premier League is a possibility for me.”
Bayern Munich is a club with a wealth of money. The newly crowned Bundesliga champions have shown in the past that they are not afraid to let players’ contracts run down (i.e. Michael Ballack left on a free transfer to Chelsea in 2006). The Bundesliga giants also have a wage structure in place and have stated recently that they won’t break it for any player.
A few months ago, honorary president Beckenbauer had this to say regarding the negotiations between Bayern Munich and Toni Kroos: “You have to make a decision as a club when someone’s demands are going through the roof. There is not a single player who’s worth changing your entire wage structure for. Nobody’s indispensable. If the player wants to stay at Bayern, I can only advise him not to overplay his hand.”
Kroos had asked Bayern for an increase in wages to put him on the same level as Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Lahm on the Bayern Munich wage structure. Kroos currently earns less than Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara — two players Bayern brought in last summer.
Last week, reports out of England suggested that David Moyes is willing to offer Bayern Munich £40m this summer in an attempt to pry Kroos away from the Bundesliga club.
Although Bayern Munich is by far the wealthiest club in Germany, that kind of money would be hard to turn down for one player; especially with the Bavarian giants owning a surplus of talent in their midfield.
United is also reportedly willing to offer Kroos £250k-per-week to serve as its midfield boss.
These kinds of numbers suggest that Manchester United has not slowed down in its pursuit of Toni Kroos. Many at the club are convinced Kroos is the player United has been looking for since the departure of Roy Keane and the German international would provide the final piece to their footballing spine.