Manchester United face a battle to complete a transfer for Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, after the Serie A giants claimed it would take a mammoth offer for them to even consider doing business. Strootman was immediately viewed as a target for the Premier League club after his former manager with the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal, took charge at Old Trafford. The former PSV Eindhoven man was a key player for Van Gaal as the Netherlands qualified for the World Cup before a serious knee injury suffered in March ruled him out of the trip to Brazil. Speaking on United’s tour of the United States over the weekend, Van Gaal intimated he would wait to assess Strootman’s level once he makes his return from injury.
“I never say anything about individual players -- it's my vision that we have to be about the team and not individual players,” he said, reports Sky Sports.
“Other players, not at Manchester United, I can't judge -- I am not there. Strootman I can judge, but he has been injured for more than six months. We have to wait and see how he comes back. It's not so easy to come back out of an injury, so we'll wait and see.”
Because of Strootman’s current fitness status, rumors have suggested a bid from United could be forthcoming in January. However, on the back of securing a return to the Champions League, Roma manager Rudi Garcia signaled he has no intent of waving goodbye to the 24-year-old in the near future.
“What can I say about the rumors [about Strootman joining United],” Garcia pondered with a smile following Roma’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in a friendly on Saturday, according to ESPN. “Maybe after a three-digit offer [£79 million], then we will sit down and think about it.”
One signing Manchester United now look all but certain to miss out on is that of Ángel di María. The Argentina midfielder has been expected to leave Real Madrid since the European champions captured Colombian star James Rodríguez. But rather than Old Trafford, Spanish publication Marca states that a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain is close to being confirmed. It is reported that the fee could rise to as much as €80 million (£63m).
Intriguingly, though, Marca believe that PSG, hampered by Financial Fair Play restrictions, are now able to offer up such a huge sum for Di Maria because Edinson Cavani is close to joining Manchester United. Cavani has previously been linked with United and reports earlier this month claimed that his agent was working on a securing his client a move to the Premier League.
Given that Van Gaal is operating with two strikers, it is possible that Cavani could line up alongside Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie, although the striking department would not appear an obvious area that United are in need of strengthening. And the fact that Cavani posted a picture on Twitter on Monday showing him on a plane traveling to Hong Kong to link up with his PSG teammates, does not suggest that his exit from the French champions is imminent.
It is at center-back where Van Gaal has expressed a need to strengthen. His options are thin on the ground with just Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans available to fill out the three center-back spots. Van Gaal’s preferred option to add quality and depth in that area has long been German World Cup winner Mats Hummels. Such a transfer has always appeared unlikely, however, with Borussia Dortmund having already lost one of their key players this summer in Robert Lewandowski. Last week, manager Jürgen Klopp laughed off rumors that Hummels was about to move to Old Trafford for as little as £16 million. And now the Sunday People has reported comments from a source close to Dortmund stating that there is no chance of a deal this summer.
“We’ve spoken with the player and it is true that some clubs are interested, but we have rejected the chance to negotiate,” the source is quoted as saying. “Mats is happy in Dortmund and will be with us next term.”