Belfast Telegraph

Roma seek 'huge' fee for Strootman

Roma president James Pallotta says Manchester United will have to pay a "huge" fee to sign Kevin Strootman.

Despite spending £153million on seven new players, Louis van Gaal still has money to strengthen his squad and defensive midfielder Strootman is one of the players on his shortlist.

The United manager knows Strootman well from his time as Holland coach and is interested in signing the 24-year-old once he makes a full recovery from the cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.

Manager Rudi Garcia said Roma would not sell the player for less than 100 million euros (£77million) last year and Pallotta's comments in an interview with Bleacher Report suggest the club are still holding out for a enormous fee.

"We want to put the best team on the pitch, that's the most important thing. But we're businessmen. If someone comes in with a stupid number for a player, you have to listen to it. You can't just say 'no, no matter what'," Pallotta said.

"My view is that I don't want Kevin to go, for example, but if someone offers a huge amount, you at least have to listen to them.

"You're running a team, so you have to look at what's best for everyone, not just one individual. That's the way the world works."

Roma signed Strootman from PSV Eindhoven for 19 million euros (£14.75million) in 2013.

The Holland international played 25 times for the Italian club last season but he has only started two games this term due to his serious knee injury.

Pallotta believes speculation regarding the former Utrecht man is finally beginning to die down.

"I think the papers have finally given up on the Strootman thing, because Kevin's come out and addressed it, saying he likes it in Italy and he has a five-year contract," Pallotta added. "And by the way, I wasn't going to sell him anyway."

Pallotta also insisted another of his star players, Miralem Pjanic, will not be leaving the club this month despite reported interest from Liverpool.

"The Liverpool thing with Pjanic is the same. We have another four years with him, and we love him," Pallotta said.

Roma's Serie A rivals Palermo, meanwhile, claim they have rejected an offer from United for 21-year-old striker Paulo Dybala.

But Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini says the club are willing to talk again in the summer about the potential sale of the Argentinian, who has scored nine goals in 17 appearances this season.

"Dybala is worth over 40 million euros (£31million), but I won't sell him until June," Zamparini told Radio Due.

"Many foreign clubs asked after him, including Manchester United.

"I told the English side that he is not for sale right now, but we can talk about it again in six months.

"In my view, he is the best striker in Europe at the moment."

Palermo signed Dybala from Argentinian club Instituto for £9million in 2012.

After completing the signing of the player, Zamparini hailed him as "the new Sergio Aguero".

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