Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer

Strootman is the Number One target for United manager Louis van Gaal and the club hope Roma's Champions League exit could help structure a January move

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The Independent Online

Roma’s elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Manchester City could have much bigger implications than a drop in European TV revenue and taking up their Thursday nights for the foreseeable future. It could just have paved the way from Kevin Strootman to join Manchester United.

Both Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta were on hand to secure City’s first victory in Italy and help them progress to the last-16 of the Champions league in the most unlikeliest of fashions. Strootman was left on the bench for Roma’s 2-0 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico as he continues to be eased back into action following a serious knee injury, but it seems increasingly likely that United will enquire about his availability in January when the transfer window reopens.

United manager Louis van Gaal is a known fan of Strootman’s talents, so much so that he used the midfielder as his focal point in the Netherlands side he built for the World Cup – only to see him ruled out through injury on the eve of the tournament and quickly alter his tactics from a 4-3-3 formation to a more counter-attacking 5-3-2.

 

Having not played for Roma since the 4-2 victory over Parma in April, Strootman finally return to action when he came off the bench last month against Torino, and he has made three appearances so far this season including a first start against Sassuolo last Saturday.

While Roma manager Rudi Garcia is easing the 24-year-old back into action, United will want to see him prove his fitness before attempting to lure him to Old Trafford. The fee that United would have to pay will also come under the spotlight given Garcia placed a €100m (about £80m) price-tag on the Dutch international in the summer.

Roma owner James Pallotta spoke in October to rubbish any chance of Strootman leaving the Serie A club, although he did admit that “as business people” they would listen to offers it they fell in the right range.

“It is just not happening,” said Pallotta. “I have told the papers that they should stop wasting paper. We don’t have any interest in selling Kevin. Obviously as business people when people call us and say ‘we want your player’ you are going to listen to them. You have to do that, that is the business side. That doesn’t mean you are going to make a decision that £75m, bang you hit the bid. That is not the way it is going to work, it is not the way it does work with us.”

Roma’s general manager Mauro Baldissoni reiterated Pallotta’s words last night shortly after the defeat to City.

Kevin-Strootman-2.jpg
Strootman remains a target for Roma

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Baldissoni said: "This is something I'm reading every day. It is also something our president doesn't like to read every day.

"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.

Asked whether their elimination from the Champions League and the financial impact of dropping to the Europa League would mean that Roma need to sell their star midfielder, Baldissoni answered: "I don't have a clue.

“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."

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