Manchester United target Kevin Strootman nears return with Roma

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Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola and winger Arjen Robben look ahead to their Champions League Group E match against Roma - who they beat 7-1 in Rome. (1:28)

Manchester United target Kevin Strootman is closing in on a return to football, offering him the chance to prove his fitness ahead of the January transfer window.

United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed he is interested in the Netherlands international, and the midfielder is delighted to be nearing a comeback.

Strootman, 24, has been out since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury against Napoli in March but is set to line up for Roma's youth team at the weekend.

And he told reporters: "I feel better and better. I am now in training with the Roma squad and I am happy. I want to support my team and play again very quickly."

Roma manager Rudi Garcia has already said he expects the former PSV Eindhoven player to be fit by the time Manchester City visit the Stadio Olimpico for December's Champions League game but Strootman is on course to make his first-team comeback before then.

Serie A runners-up Roma said in July that United would have to pay 100 million euros if they wanted to buy Strootman, and last month owner James Pallotta reiterated that they do not want to sell.

He said: "It's just not happening. I have told the papers that they should stop wasting paper. We don't have any interest in selling Kevin. Obviously as business people when people call us and say 'we want your player' you are going to listen to them.

"You have to do that, that is the business side. That doesn't mean you are going to make a decision that [an offer of] 75 million pounds, bang you hit the bid. That is not the way it is going to work, it is not the way it does work with us."

Strootman was a regular in Van Gaal's Netherlands team and was expected to play a prominent role at World Cup until he was injured.

The 63-year-old said in Denver in July that he would like to take Strootman to Old Trafford but, while he was sidelined, he signed a fellow Netherlands international, in Daley Blind, while Ander Herrera is another central midfielder who joined in the summer.

United spent a club-record 152 million pounds in the summer but funds are available for Van Gaal to buy again in the January transfer window.