• Premier League

United hopeful of Strootman deal in January

Miguel Delaney | ESPN FC
December 18, 2014
Kevin Strootman, right, returned to action for Roma last month following knee surgery © Getty Images
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Manchester United could now have a strong chance of signing Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman in January due to the Serie A club's early elimination from the Champions League, Old Trafford sources have told ESPN.

Strootman's season only began last month following his return from a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained in March, and Roma's failure to progress from their group in Europe has led United to believe they have significant leverage to do an earlier deal for the 24-year-old.

United's interest in the Netherlands international is long-standing and has only increased following the arrival of his former national coach, Louis van Gaal, at the Premier League club in the summer.

The knee injury Strootman picked up not only ruled him out of the World Cup but also prevented any immediate possibility of a transfer following Van Gaal's appointment, although it had been anticipated at Old Trafford that a deal would eventually take place at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

There had been extensive preliminary discussions between all parties, but Roma's initial positive results in the Champions League had meant they were totally unwilling to do business in January.

Manchester City may have done rivals United a favour by eliminating the Serie A club in last week's group decider at the Stadio Olimpico, which the Premier League champions won 2-0.

Now, United sources have told ESPN that they may be able to push the deal through in January, and Roma will be more ready to negotiate despite their public statements to the contrary. Strootman could cost upwards of £30 million.

The defensive midfield position is seen as key by Van Gaal, having failed to strengthen there in the summer, while United continue to offer opponents plenty of chances in games despite their recent significant upturn in form.

It is anticipated that the United manager will bring in at least two players in January, with an addition at centre-back also on the agenda.

Ron Vlaar - another player to appear under Van Gaal for Netherlands - remains an option. His contract runs out at the end of the season, but Aston Villa have been demanding up to £12m for any move next month.

This article originally appeared on ESPNFC.com

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