Manchester United are prepared to offer Juan Mata as bait in an attempt to convince AS Roma to part ways with Kevin Strootman, reports the Sunday People.
Louis van Gaal has only just ended an impressive £150 million summer spending spree, but is preparing to go on the offensive in the January transfer window with an irresistible offer for Strootman.
The Netherlands midfielder is a firm favourite of Van Gaal and the Manchester United boss believes throwing Mata into the deal will convince Roma president Walter Sabatini to sell.
Sabatini has reiterated his desire to keep the 24-year-old in the Italian capital despite the fact he has only just recovered from a serious knee injury.
Mata looks set to depart Old Trafford only a year after joining from Chelsea in a club record £37 million deal. David Moyes saw the Spaniard as a marquee signing at the time.
But after Van Gaal brought Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to the club in the summer, Mata is likely to be the player to lose out.
Roma are rumoured to be interested in Mata. Rudi Garcia was linked with a potential loan bid in the January transfer window with the option to make the move permanent in the summer.
However, this potential swap deal would bypass the need for a trial period with Van Gaal offering a straight swap.
Juventus could throw a cat amongst the pigeons if they decide to throw in a rival bid. The Turin club have been linked with a £20 million bid but it is believed they will only be able to make such an offer if they qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.