Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines, which could all but end Manchester United's pursuit of the player.
Strootman, 24, spent nine months on the sidelines and missed the Netherlands' World Cup campaign after rupturing his knee ligaments in March last year.
The Dutchman another suffered a knee problem that forced him off after just 34 minutes in Roma's 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on Sunday 25 January. His manager, Rudi Garcia, claimed after the game the latest knock was nothing serious.
On Thursday 29 January, Strootman confirmed via Twitter he would use his short spell on the sidelines to undergo a minor procedure back in Amsterdam to remove some scar tissue from the knee operation he underwent last March.
Having initially been hopeful of returning in a matter of weeks, the midfielder has now confirmed the problem he suffered against Fiorentina is more serious than first anticipated and he expects another lengthy period out of the first team.
"The scar tissue from my previous operation has been removed successfully today," Strootman tweeted. "Unfortunately, some cartilaginous damage, caused by the knock in the Fiorentina match, was found too. This means I have to take a longer rest period than anticipated earlier and I am extremely disappointed that it will take much longer before I can be back on the pitch again."
Strootman was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford during the summer transfer window, with United manager Louis van Gaal reportedly identifying the player as a priority signing for his midfield.
Talk of a bid persisted into the season under the assumption United would monitor his return to first-team action with the Giallorossi before deciding whether to launch a bid for the player.
Any offer for the Dutchman is now certain to wait until this summer's transfer window, where United have been tipped to launch another spending spree in their efforts to try and close the gap between themselves and Chelsea and Manchester City.