Transfer deadline day may have been and gone, but the Daily Mail have wasted no time applying the bellows to the raging inferno of transfer gossip surrounding Manchester United ahead of the January sales.
According to the notoriously fair-minded and non-reactionary newspaper:
“Roma’s Kevin Strootman has already been lined up as a £25m target in January when the Holland star will have fully recovered from a serious knee injury”.
It seems a fairly unequivocal statement, yet the bwin layers rate it only a 7/5 chance that the Netherlands international will be a Red Devil come February 2015.
Meanwhile the Giallorossi remain 1/2 favourites to stable the 24-year-old for the remainder of the campaign.
Despite the Red Devils’ greater stature in the world game, Roma, notorious transfer hardball negotiators, hold all the all the aces currently.
Assuming no complications from his knee injury Strootman is expected to return to training in October of a season that, with the all-conquering Juventus side rusting, rates his employers’ best chance of winning the Scudetto for some time.
Champions League football is also on the agenda in Italy.
Moving to Old Trafford could see the Dutchman forsake potentially glorious campaigns both in Italy and on the continent for a battle for the top four in England.
Having described the former PSV man as ‘non-transferrable’, Roma, a club who took circa £30m from the Spurs coffers in return for Erik Lamela, will likely demand a figure well in excess of the £24m doing the rounds to loosen their grip.
There is also the possibility that after several months in the Man Utd hot seat, Louis van Gaal may decide that strengthening other areas of his squad is a greater priority.
Having lost long-serving defenders Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra that must rate a distinct possibility.