Manchester United have been dealt a setback in their pursuit of Kevin Strootman after Roma director Walter Sabatini insisted he wasn't for sale.
The Dutchman is believed to be the Red Devils' top target for the January transfer window, with boss Louis van Gaal reportedly keen on linking back up with his countryman.
A knee injury meant Manchester United didn't make a move for him in the summer window, but a move in the new year looked to be on the cards. However Sabatini looks to have moved early to try and dismiss rumours linking him with a move to Old Trafford, insisting that there isn't a price on his head because he isn't for sale.
He told reporters: "He'll be our big mid-season signing [when he returns from injury]. We've had to make do without a magnificent footballer these last few months"
"How much is Strootman worth? There's no price for him because he's not for sale"
While it is entirely plausible that Roma's denials may not be entirely truthful, it certainly means that Manchester United are staring down the barrel of a lengthy negotiation process once more.
It had been claimed that Van Gaal was happy with the €30 million price tag Roma had reportedly put on Strootman which could have meant negotiations were short and sweet, but that no longer looks to be the case.
They went through something similar with their pursuit of Arturo Vidal over the summer. A drawn-out transfer saga ultimately ended in tears with the Chilean remaining in Turin, and they would have been looking to avoid that same when the winter window rolls around.
Before the January window however Van Gaal will be focussing his attention on getting Manchester United moving up the table, and will be hopeful of claiming his first competitive victory in charge at Old Trafford against QPR this weekend.
Four of his summer signings are set to make their debuts against Harry Redknapp's side; Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and deadline day signing Radamel Falcao should all start.