AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has avoided questions regarding Manchester United's interest in Kevin Strootman, claiming he does not know where the midfielder's future lies.
Strootman, 24, enjoyed a fine first campaign in Serie A following his move from PSV Eindhoven last summer but has been sidelined since March after suffering a severe cruciate knee-ligament injury.
Despite having played no football in seven months, the Dutchman remains a priority target of United manager Louis van Gaal, with the club reportedly monitoring his progress as he edges closer to his return to first-team football.
A January bid for Strootman is expected but Garcia insists only the club's president, James Pallotta, knows whether the player will be sold.
"Strootman for sale? You must speak about this with our president," Garcia told reporters after his side's Champions League 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
"But the intention of the club is very clear. Strootman is an important talent for us. I want to have him available for the home match against City [10 December], which will be crucial.
"He is a midfielder of the highest level and we are waiting for him to return. We hope to have him back soon."
After signing Ander Herrera and Daley Blind in the summer transfer window, Van Gaal is expected to make further additions to his midfield given the club's paucity of options outside the starting XI.
Anticipating United's renewed interest in Strootman, Pallotta swiftly shot down talk of a move, describing reports of the powerful midfielder leaving as a "waste of paper".
"There has been non-stop reporting in UK newspapers about Kevin Strootman and Manchester United," Pallotta said in September.
"Kevin Strootman is not for sale and has never ever been discussed in that vein at Roma. They are wasting paper. We consider Kevin an integral, highly valued partner in our long-term plans."