Manchester United have been sent a stark warning by Serie A giants AS Roma that long-term target Kevin Strootman is not for sale, despite the recent rumours.
Ever since Louis van Gaal’s appointment to the Old Trafford hot-seat the Red Devils have been strongly linked with a bid for the Dutch midfielder, with certain sources even claiming a colossal bid of €75 million could see him make a Premier League move.
No chance of business
However, in a bid to dispel the myth that Strootman is even remotely available Roma chief Mauro Baldissoni has stated that he is not for sale, and that the club are looking forward to his long-awaited return from injury.
"We can’t wait to see Strootman back on the field, because we really miss him and that moment is getting closer," the Giallorossi boss told Sky Sports, as relayed by Goal.
"We are proud to have Strootman in our squad and he is not for sale."
Worries over Strootman
Having been forced to sit out of the World Cup this summer, and then the majority of pre-season with Roma, it’s something of a surprise that the interest in him as remained so high. Van Gaal is obviously keen as he knows what Strootman can do when fully fit, although the apparent desire to buy a player who is susceptible to being injured may evoke caution from the United faithful.
This is particularly prevalent when it’s considered how much the player in question might cost. Recent estimations have Strootman pegged at around £60 million which, to put it further into context, is even more than they paid for Angel Di Maria this summer. As such United will have to tread very carefully indeed, especially with Van Gaal’s squad being scrutinised in the wake of their poor Premier League form.
Nevertheless the outright rejection Roma have handed them will have hurt United’s plans. Strootman was reportedly one of Van Gaal’s top targets for the January transfer window and the news that his club aren’t willing to even negotiate over his sale will force his suitors to turn to other options.
Naturally United fans will wonder exactly where Strootman would fit in even if he was purchased, with doubts already having been expressed over Van Gaal’s attack-heavy business in the transfer market. Both Daley Blind and Ander Herrera occupy similar positions on the pitch to the 24-year-old, whilst Wayne Rooney, Di Maria and Juan Mata are contesting the areas further up the pitch.
Essentially it means there would be little room for Strootman at Old Trafford unless Van Gaal is preparing to offload one of his current players. It’s been rumoured that either Mata or last summer’s marquee signing, Marouane Fellaini, could be included in any proposal sent to the Stadio Olimpico to sweeten the deal, though through Baldissoni’s resolute deterrence it doesn’t look like either man would be enough to convince Roma to sell their prised asset.