Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will continue to monitor Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman very closely over the next month as he bids to find form and full fitness, with a £30million offer on the table if the Dutch international can prove he's finally recovered from a cruciate ligament injury.
Strootman made his long-awaited comeback for Roma prior to the international break with a late cameo appearance against Torino, ending a nightmare spell on the sidelines that forced him to miss the World Cup.
Van Gaal is still a huge admirer of the playmaker though and would love to make him a Man United player if Roma are willing to do business, with the Daily Star reporting he remains very much a top transfer target.
Strootman has an obligation to Van Gaal
The 24-year-old blossomed under Van Gaal during Holland's unbeaten qualification campaign for the World Cup, building a relationship which he still feels is very important.
Strootman was interviewed by Hugo Borst for a new biography on Van Gaal and waxed lyrical about his time alongside the experienced tactician, doing nothing to dampen speculation that he'd like to be reunited with his mentor at Old Trafford.
Quotes from the £30m-rated man
In the book Strootman reveals: “With him looking on, whether it’s during a training session or in a packed stadium, it’s not a matter of me wanting the ball,” he said.
“No, I’ve got to have it. It is mine. It’s like an obligation I have to Van Gaal.”
Roma will of course remain extremely confident of keeping Strootman until at least next summer at an absolute minimum, particularly as they have a genuine chance of winning their first Scudetto since 2001.
United may have to be patient in this transfer chase
Long-term though Van Gaal is desperate to land a player he knows he can trust, particularly with United struggling to convince in central midfield this season despite the arrival of Strootman's international colleague Daley Blind.
United proved last summer with a club-record £150m spending spree that they're not afraid to spend big on the targets Van Gaal identifies, so don't be at all surprised if Red Devils executive vice-president Ed Woodward is in contact with the Giallorossi when the transfer window reopens.