Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could miss out on top transfer target Kevin Strootman in January, with French champions Paris Saint-Germain willing to offer Arsenal and Chelsea target Adrien Rabiot plus cash in order to sign the AS Roma star.
This is according to the Express, who claim that PSG will effectively be forced to sign Strootman in January in order to prevent Rabiot from leaving the Parc des Princes for free next summer, when his contract expires.
United angered by latest development
The report adds that United chiefs are likely to be angered by this latest development. It's no secret that the Red Devils' boss is a huge fan of the 24-year-old midfielder, who became an integral part of the Netherlands national team during Van Gaal's two years in charge of the Oranje.
United weighed up the idea of making an offer for £40 million-rated Strootman in the summer, but opted to delay a bid until January in order to make sure the holding midfielder makes a full recovery from serious knee surgery.
But Van Gaal's willingness to wait may end up costing him - and United - one of Europe's most revered industrious midfielders.
Strootman's injury concerns
United were expected to spend mega money on Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal - the player many Red Devils' supporters were desperate to see at Old Trafford - before last week's transfer deadline.
Like Strootman, Vidal underwent knee surgery earlier this year, and Van Gaal was believed to be a reluctant to spend a fortune on a player at risk of suffering a relapse.
It was reported last week that Vidal had indeed suffered a setback in his recovery, but the Chile international took to Twitter to deny the suggestions.
Arsenal & Chelsea could also miss out
United are not the only Premier League club who would be left empty-handed by this deal, however.
Arsenal were strongly linked with Rabiot during the closing weeks of the summer transfer final, but failed to get a deal for the 19-year-old France Under-21 international over the line.
It's unclear whether the Gunners were planning to go back for the player in January, although that may have depended on their domestic and European form over the course of the next three months.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is also believed to be a fan on the talented midfielder, who made 34 appearances for the Parisians last season.
Rabiot still wants to leave PSG, despite falling to secure a move away from the oil-rich club in January, and Roma appear firmly in pole position ahead of both Arsenal and Chelsea.