Manchester United could be forced to end their interest in Kevin Strootman for good after a former Roma club doctor revealed complications in the midfielder's recent knee operations.
Strootman, 25, suffered a ruptured knee ligament in March 2014 that required surgery and ruled him out for nine months.
During his recovery, the Dutch midfielder remained relentlessly linked with a move to Old Trafford where he would link up with countryman Louis van Gaal.
After Strootman made his Roma return in November, it was widely suggested United would attempt to sign the player during the January transfer window. However, the Dutchman suffered another problem that month and was forced to go under the knife again.
Following the operation, Strootman admitted the second operation revealed a further problem that would rule him out for the foreseeable future, with former Roma doctor Mario Brozzi fearing the worst for the player.
"My impression is that the surgery on Strootman's ligament did not go perfectly," Brozzi told La Partita Perfetta on Gold TV, the Guardian report. "I don't know what happened to his knee, but his Cyclops syndrome results from a problem in the ligament's position.
"The cartilaginous damage is determined by the extensive deficit. Now, if this is the situation, I see no way out. But it is not up to me to say whether further surgery is needed."
Before undergoing the second operation at the start of 2015, both Strootman and Roma manager Rudi Garcia played down the severity of the problem after he limped out of a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on 25 January. But the former PSV Eindhoven star is now unable to put a date on his return.
"The scar tissue from my previous operation has been removed successfully today," Strootman tweeted last month.
"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."