Manchester United were linked with a move for Kevin Strootman long before he completed his transfer to Roma last summer.
In a sense, his (hypothetical) importance to United’s midfield was increased by the fact that he was an accessible answer, an achievable signing; as was proved when the Italian side bought him for a reported fee of €20million.
Soon after the Dutchman’s arrival in Serie A, he was linked with a swift exit – United reportedly keen to rectify what some observers saw as an oversight in their transfer plans. But his agent went on record to rule out a January move…or a summer one for that matter.
Speaking to Sky Sports, agent Chiel Dekker is quoted as saying, “Kevin is very happy in Rome and his intention is to stay here for a long time.”
Alongside him at Roma is Adem Ljajic; a player who was on the verge of moving to United only for work permit issues to prevent the deal going through.
There have been plenty of stories down the years as to the “real” reason the move never happened, but the Serbian international has gone on record to clarify that it was purely his failure to secure a permit that prevented him from moving to England.
And so both men – Ljajic and Strootman – now ply their trade for Roma, and on Saturday they proved yet again why United are missing out by not having them in their squad.
Both players scored in their side’s 3-0 home victory against Livorno, ensuring Roma remained within touching distance – just – of league leaders Juventus.
Roma possess a whole host of players who have been linked with United in recent times, including Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic, but it was Strootman and Ljajic who made most of the headlines this weekend.
Players who, for differing reasons, did not make it to Old Trafford…at least not yet.
You can see all the goals from yesterday’s match below:
image: © Damien Cansse