Strootman tells Roma: I want to join Manchester United

The Dutchman wants the Serie A to club to talk to the Red Devils in January and remains a leading target of Louis van Gaal’s to improve the Old Trafford midfield


EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Kevin Strootman has told Roma that he wants them to negotiate with Manchester United over a potential switch to Old Trafford in January.

The Netherlands star is closing in on a return from a serious knee injury and has long been pencilled in by Louis van Gaal as his ideal choice to improve United’s midfield.

Roma have publicly insisted that Strootman is not for sale, with the club’s owner James Pallotta declaring last month that the 24-year-old’s departure is ‘not happening’.

But United bosses are ready to test Roma’s resolve and feel that the public declarations from the Serie A club have been have been used as a negotiating tactic.

Strootman is keen to be reunited with former Netherlands coach Van Gaal and is aware that the 20-time English champions would more than treble his €32,000-a-week salary.

United have explored alternatives to Strootman, including Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, but will test Roma’s stance in the New Year.

Strootman is back in training after suffering knee ligament damage in March that cost him his place in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad, but is expected to return to action this month.

Van Gaal told United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward not to pursue other midfield targets such as Arturo Vidal during the summer as he wanted to keep track of Strootman’s return to fitness.

The Red Devils boss values Strootman’s all-action style as a box-to-box midfielder who can set the tone for his team and make an impact in every area of the pitch.

Strootman was considered one of Van Gaal’s ‘untouchables’ with the Netherlands and his reputation has only grown since his move to Roma from PSV in a €19 million deal in 2013.

He made 29 appearances for Roma last season, scoring six goals and providing seven assists following his move to the Italian capital.