SERIE A side Roma have told Manchester United that Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman - the main target for Louis van Gaal when the transfer window opens next month - is not for sale.
Van Gaal is a big fan of Strootman (both of them pictured below) and he has been told by the Old Trafford hierarchy that the money is in place to land the defender but Roma have set out their stall ahead of what is bound to be an intense bidding war by stating that Strootman is part of their long-term plans.
"We haven't received any call from Manchester. We are not planning to sell Kevin," Roma's general manager Mauro Baldissoni said last night.
"Kevin is young and he has a long contract. We definitely want to build our team around him."
Roma will not openly invite offers for Strootman. But just as with Mehdi Benatia's summer move to Bayern Munich, it is believed a big enough bid will convince them to sell.
The price tag could be in the region of £40m, with Roma maintaining a firm stance on Strootman's future. However, a move in January is more likely now that the Italians have been relegated to the Europa League.
United want to follow Real Madrid's model of having an 'elite' player in every position - and Strootman comes into that category.
While the bulk of Van Gaal's spending is expected to be conducted at the end of the season, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will provide the funds if key targets become available in January.