Serie A giants Roma could seriously harm their bid for a first Scudetto since 2001 if they sell midfield maestro Kevin Strootman to Manchester United.
The Dutchman has been linked with a move to Old Trafford dating as far back to his days in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, and is widely expected to seal a move to Louis Van Gaal’s side when the transfer window reopens next month.
But with his current club trailing league leaders Juventus by three points at the Serie A summit, Rudi Garcia would be wrong to sell Strootman whilst his side remain very much in the hunt for the biggest domestic gong of them all.
Strootman has only just returned to action following an injury lay-off that saw him miss out on the World Cup in Brazil back in the summer, but his obvious ability has made him one of the most promising midfield talents on the planet.
He was integral as the club set a new Serie A record for most consecutive victories at the start of the season with 10 last term, though his injury then scuppered their chances of dethroning the Old Lady at the summit of Italian football.
Article continues below
The 24-year-old is a tough tackler and a huge physical presence, and has been valued at around £79million by the club hierarchy but United are expected to pay more around the £30million mark for his services.
Despite Van Gaal having swooped for Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind back in the summer, he is keen to bring his compatriot to the Premier League and reportedly shook hands on a deal in pre-season.
Marouane Fellaini has been reborn this term, looking more like the player that convinced David Moyes to part with £27million to acquire him instead of the insipid player that struggled last season, but whether or not he is first-choice for the long term remains to be seen.
Arturo Vidal was persistently linked with a transfer to United but Juventus’ unwillingness to sanction a sale scuppered any potential move and he remains a crucial clog of Massimiliano Allegri’s side as they hunt a fourth consecutive league title.
Selling Strootman at the mid-season mark could be a decision that makes or breaks Garcia’s time as Roma manager.
They have been ruthless this season, and had it not been for a defeat to their title rivals back in October they would be topping the table at the start of 2015 instead of Allegri’s defending champions.
With 11 wins from 16 games they have the form to become the new champions of the division, and end Juventus’ recent spell of domestic dominance in the process.