Roma tell Manchester United Kevin Strootman is not for sale

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After crashing out of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, AS Roma is already protecting their top assets.

Kevin Strootman, thought to be a long-term target for Manchester United, is not for sale at any price according to the Italian side.

[ RELATED: Man City serene in Rome ]

Strootman, 24, has just returned from a long-term knee injury which kept him out of the World Cup for the Netherlands this summer. That was a big disappointment for Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, who has since taken over at Manchester United.

With reports suggesting United are eager to make moves in January to continue their resurgence in the Premier League, Roma’s general manager Mauro Baldissoni told Sky Sports News in the UK that Strootman is going nowhere.

“This is something I’m reading every day. It is also something our president doesn’t like to read every day,” Baldissoni said. “He made a statement a few weeks ago saying Kevin was not for sale but, to be fair, we haven’t received any call from Manchester. We do not plan to sell him.”

So that’s the end of that then… right?

In recent conference calls with investors, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stated that if deals fell into place in January they would be sealed, but that the Red Devils will likely wait until the summer to sign new players. With United struggling in defense, they will likely need reinforcements there first before adding a midfielder like Strootman.

However with van Gaal’s close ties with Strootman after managing him with the Dutch national team, the links between the Roma midfielder and United will continue to crop up.

We haven’t heard the last of this one, as silly season is just around the corner in the Premier League with the transfer window re-opening on January 1.