Manchester City could inadvertently help local rivals Manchester United secure the services of AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman in January if they successfully deny the Giallorossi a place in the Champions League knockout rounds this week.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side must beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday to qualify for the Round of 16; however, if successful, United could subsequently sign Louis van Gaal’s top midfield target.
Roma have slapped a £60 million price tag on Strootman, according to the Mirror, but the Italian club would significantly reduce their asking price if eliminated from Europe’s premier club competition.
Van Gaal a huge fan
Strootman, 24, became a firm favourite of Van Gaal during their time working together with the Netherlands national team.
The veteran Dutch coach centred his team around the tactically-astute former PSV star, but was forced to totally change his plans ahead of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after the midfielder suffered a serious knee injury in March.
Strootman, who has also been linked with a move to Arsenal in recent weeks, missed the World Cup and is still making his way back to full fitness - but Van Gaal has been assured that the midfielder will have returned to top physical condition next month.
Manchester United are reluctant to pay over £30 million for the player, despite his undoubted quality, but there’s a feeling inside Old Trafford that Roma would seriously consider a reduced offer if they fail to see off City later this week.