Chelsea have made a major move to steal Kevin Strootman from Manchester United by making a £30 million offer ahead of the January transfer window.
The Dutch midfielder is likely to be in the middle of an almighty transfer battle in the new year having returned to full fitness following a knee injury that wrecked his chances of playing at the World Cup.
It has long been claimed that Manchester United will move to sign the former PSV Eindhoven ace in 2015, either in January or the summer, but the news of Chelsea's interest throws a spanner in the works. According to the Daily Star, the Blues have already lodged a £30 million bid for the 24-year-old in an attempt to snatch him from their big rivals.
Roma have repeatedly insisted - publicly at least - that Strootman is not for sale, but Chelsea's offer of £30 million for a player the Italian club paid just £15 million for in 2013 could be tempting. Club chief Mauro Baldissoni spoke out this week about the rumours surrounding Strootman, insisting that neither Manchester United or any other suitor have not been in touch.
"This is something I'm reading every day. It is also something our president doesn't like to read every day," he said. "He made a statement a few weeks ago saying Kevin was not for sale but, to be fair, we haven't received any call from Manchester. We do not plan to sell him."
Roma failed to qualify from their Champions League group after losing to Manchester City last week, but Baldissoni insists that will have no bearing on Strootman's future. "I don't have a clue [about that].
"This is something you should ask Van Gaal or Mr (Ed) Woodward but we don't think we will sell our best players. Kevin is also young, not only a good player, he is a young player and we have a very long contract so we want to build our team around him."
Of course the strong connection between Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal and Stootman could sway the deal, but Chelsea's interest comes as a real curveball.