Manchester United may have to wait until January to land £30m midfield maestro



It seems like any prospect of Manchester United being interested in taking the now available Cesc Fabregas to Old Trafford has now gone. The player that the club publicly courted for a chunk of last summer has now been surpassed in their affections by Roma’s Kevin Strootman. This is clearly a case of new manager Louis van Gaal arriving at the club and laying out his agenda.

Although Roma have not promoted any sale for their midfielder, a valuation of £25million to £30million would doubtless pique their interest.

There is a further complication however, in that a serious knee injury has eliminated Strootman from van Gaal’s World Cup squad, and is likely to keep the midfielder out of action until the autumn. Such being the case, a deal before January is unlikely as concern about recovery from the injury may prejudice the price.

At the moment, without any report of any direct contact between United and Roma, Stootman is playing the whole thing very coolly.

The former Utrecht and Sparta Rotterdam player made 24 appearances, netting five goals for Il Giallorossi, before the injury struck. With four years remaining on his contract with the Serie A club, although aware of United’s interest, there’s nothing to suggest that Strootman would agitate for a move.

Speaking to The Guardian, his agent, Chiel Dekker, confirmed his charge’s injury prognosis declaring that “He won’t be back playing until autumn – that’s the time schedule at the moment.”  He also confirmed that both he and the player were aware of the speculation about interest form van Gaal, but was decidedly cagey about links with the Old Trafford club. “He is of interest to Louis van Gaal but not related to Manchester United at this point.”

It’s thought that the player may well be interested in a move to United, but any such consideration was a long way down the road according to Dekker, who thought that the Strootman might be interested in a move, but could well stay at Roma.

“Could be but he’s in Rome and he had a terrific season,” he said. “There has been nothing between the clubs or between Louis and Kevin – they know each other and like each other but at this stage it’s not related to Man United. Roma do not want to sell. The first thing is it’s all between the clubs. And it’s also a very difficult decision because he has to choose between a fantastic club in Rome, a club that bought him and supported him while he was injured and [then] you have his personal coach of the national team at United. The clubs have to decide. He’s very happy at Rome, he’s happy to stay because they play Champions League next season and happy to recover [from] his injury, so at this stage we are not part of any discussion.”

It’s an elegant dance around the subject, but there’s little doubt that should a fee be agreed between the clubs, there is interest in a move. United will doubtless be keen to deliver the players that van Gaal has put on his shopping list, but the injury situation may well be a major stumbling block in the short term.

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