Manchester United will face competition from Real Madrid for the signature of Kevin Strootman this January as the Premier League and La Liga giants gear up for what could be a bidding war.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the AS Roma midfielder has become a main target for Santiago Bernabeu boss Carlo Ancelotti and his counterpart at Old Traffoed, Louis van Gaal.
The report claims that Van Gaal has been tracking the former PSV Eindhoven star all summer and has been keeping in contact with him with regards to a January switch to Manchester United, but things may not be quite so simple now.
Real Madrid saw key midfielder Xabi Alonso make a surprise move to Bayern Munich late in the transfer window and Sami Khedira’s injury problems, which kept him out for most of last season, return, so they are on the lookout for some more midfield options.
Gazzetta claim that Manchester United were confident of getting a transfer completed come the winter window, but that the emergence of los Blancos interest is no small matter and are ready to fight for his signature.
Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini has insisted that the 24-year-old will not be sold, but the report claims that a substantial bid from either club should be enough to convince the Serie A side to sell.
Van Gaal made Strootman an integral part of his Netherlands starting XI and his admiration for the midfielder is no secret – he would have been a starter for Holland at the World Cup in Brazil if he had not suffered a serious knee injury.
Manchester United would likely have made an approach for Strootman this summer if he was not injured, but he will return to action before the end of the year and the two clubs will likely want to take a close look at his recovery before bidding during the transfer window.