Manchester United’s hopes of prising Kevin Strootman away from Roma next month hinge on rivals Manchester City knocking the Italian club out of the Champions League.
United boss Louis van Gaal does not want to wait until the end of the season to land the aggressive Dutch midfielder.
And he believes that Roma will slash their inflated £60million valuation on Strootman if City send the Italians crashing out of Europe’s top competition on Wednesday night.
United don’t want to pay more than £30million for a player who is stepping up his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury that kept him out of the World Cup and forced United to put their bid for him on ice.
The 24-year-old has made two brief substitute appearances against Torino and CSKA Moscow and Van Gaal has been given assurances that he will be in top physical condition when the transfer window reopens in January.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed in September that Roma’s American owner, James Pallotta, had slapped a £60million valuation on Strootman after learning about United’s intent.
Pallotta knows United are prepared to splash even more cash after embarking on a £150million spending spree in the summer and has called on them to match the money they paid for Angel di Maria.
United’s moneymen are prepared to bide their time to land the Dutchman.
But while Van Gaal isn’t prepared to wait until the end of the season, much will depend on Roma’s fate in the next month.
Rudi Garcia’s team are challenging Juventus at the top of Serie A.
But if Roma are knocked out of the Champions League when they face City in a winner-takes-all shoot-out on Wednesday night, they could buckle under a bid for Strootman from Old Trafford.