Manchester United transfer target Kevin Strootman faces 'no way out' of his injury nightmare after surgery on his ligament did not 'go to plan'.
Roma and Holland midfielder Strootman returned from a nine-month injury lay-off in November, but suffered a setback in January and will miss the remainder of the season.
United had been told that we would need to pay in excess of £35 million to prise the playmaker away from the Serie A outfit: but is it worth spending that much on an undoubtedly gifted but ultimately injury-prone player??
Louis van Gaal revealed in July that he would 'wait' on Strootman's fitness before deciding whether to bid for a player the Netherlands' 3-4-3 formation previously hinged upon.
Strootman's absence in the World Cup forced LVG to alter the Dutch system to a 3-5-2, but the Roma club doctor fears the "Cyclops Syndrome" (a complication that emerged following surgery on Strootman's ACL) could severely hinder the remainder of his career.
He would without question be an excellent acquisition for the Reds: his hard working, combative, box-to-box approach has been sorely lacking from the United midfield since Roy Keane left the club.
It is history of crippling major injuries that makes signing him a risk.
The biggest mistake United made was letting Paul Pogba slip through the net as a young, raw 18 year old who has now developed into one of the most sought-after talents in world football.
How United could do with the now Juventus man: still only 21, he is in the prime of his career, has won two Serie A titles at Juve and, although he left under slightly acrimonious circumstances, I am sure he would be welcomed back at Old Trafford.
A defensive leader is also urgently needed.
Marcos Rojo has the potential to play at the heart of United's back line for many years to come: what is needed now is to find him a reliable, injury free defensive partner.
When the transfer window comes around twice a year, United are linked to nearly every centre half in Europe.
Mats Hummels has been constantly touted as Nemanja Vidic's eventual replacement for years and, in my opinion, we should pay whatever Dortmund ask for the 26 year-old World Cup winner.
United are not far away from being the complete package: a defensive rock in the Vidic mould and a midfield enforcer must be top of van Gaal's shopping list in the summer.