Manchester United have been handed a boost in their attempts to sign Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman after the Italian club's owner, James Pallotta, claimed the club would consider a "stupid" offer for the Netherlands international.
Strootman is regarded as Louis van Gaal's primary transfer target ahead of the summer transfer window when United are expected to launch another spending spree, having spent £150m on six new players before the start of the campaign.
The 24-year-old has committed his long-term future to the Italian giants and is keen to see out the remainder of his current contract which has three-and-a-half years to run.
Roma have been forced to continually quash reports suggesting United are ready to prise Strootman away from them, and while Pallotta's latest comments reaffirm the club's desire to keep the player, the American businessman hints a move could be agreed.
"I do get annoyed [at the transfer rumour mill]," he told Bleacher Report. "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. And by the way, I wasn't going to sell him anyway!
"The Liverpool thing with Pjanic is the same. We have another four years with him, and we love him.
"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.
"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."
The ex-PSV Eindhoven player has made four appearances this season, after making a full recovery from a harrowing knee injury which forced him to miss the World Cup and the start of the current campaign.
Though Strootman continues to work his way back to full fitness, he remains a central target for United who, despite signing Ander Herrera during the summer, have lacked a dominating midfielder since Roy Keane left the club in 2005.
United executive vice-president Ed Woodward has ruled out any further signings during the current January transfer window, following the capture of former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.