Serie A side Roma must prepare for life after Kevin Strootman, with the midfielder set to be the subject of a bid by Louis van Gaal and Manchester United in January.
The Dutchman has failed to feature for the Italian giants since sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in March, and also missed the World Cup in Brazil earlier this summer.
Yet that has not deterred Van Gaal, who is a known admirer of the Netherlands international and worked with him during his time at the helm of the Dutch national team.
Despite having shelved out over £150 million on new players this summer United are still missing a snarling, bulldozing midfielder that is prepared to dig deep to retrieve the ball from the opposition.
Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rojo, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao have all joined the Old Trafford revolution but they remain without a midfielder in the mould of Nemanja Matic, whose impressive form has allowed Cesc Fabregas to thrive early on at Chelsea.
Despite lengthy pursuits of Arturo Vidal and William Carvalho neither move materialised, with the latter having previously been on the radar of David Moyes prior to the Scot’s sacking in April.
Vidal had long been a target under Van Gaal, but recent doubts over his knee scuppered any potential move to the Theatre of Dreams.
Moyes had been an admirer of Strootman when the Dutchman was still plying his trade in Holland with PSV Eindhoven, yet permitted him to join Roma after opting for a reunion with Marouane Fellaini instead.
The 24-year-old’s stock has been on the up ever since, with his sensational displays helping the Italian giants win their first 10 league games of the campaign and maintain an unblemished record until Juventus came calling in January.
He ended his maiden season at the Stadio Olimpico with six strikes from 29 games, more than Michael Carrick, Fellaini, Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley could manage combined.
Such excellence is unlikely to come cheaply, with manager Rudi Garcia unlikely to sanction the sale of another star asset anytime soon following the exit of Mehdi Benatia to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
When asked about the Dutchman’s future, Garcia also underlined his eagerness to keep Strootman in Italy and stated only a fee of £79 million would be sufficient enough for his services.
If Strootman does depart, as widely expected, when the transfer window reopens next year then United may attempt to offload Fellaini as part of the deal.
The Belgian had looked destined to be plying his trade in Serie A following interest from Rafael Benitez’s Napoli, but a recent injury has cooled their interest.
Roma may consider moving for Fredy Guarin of Inter Milan, but forcing the European giants to sell to a direct rival may prove problematic.
United are unlikely to bid any more than £30 million for the player given his recent injury record, but despite Garcia’s insistence that no move can happen for that cheap will be fighting a losing battle if they try to keep the player against his will.
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