Kevin Strootman
AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman has been constantly linked with a move to Manchester United in January. Getty

Manchester United target Kevin Strootman insists he does not see AS Roma as a stepping stone to greater things.

United remain heavily linked with a move for the Dutch international whose cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in March prevented Louis van Gaal from lodging a bid for his services for the summer.

Strootman has however returned to first-team action and despite repeated claims from the Roma hierarchy that the player is not for sale, he remains a target for United.

The 24-year-old admits he does have ambitions to play at the highest level, citing Barcelona and Real Madrid as dream destinations, but insists he is not using his time at the Serie A side as a means to engineer such a move.

"Of course, everyone wants to go to Barcelona or Real Madrid, but they don't come quickly to the Eredivisie," Strootman was quoted as saying by Voetbal International.

"Sometimes there is the odd exception, but mostly the rule is that those sort of clubs scout at a higher level. I don't see Roma as totally an intermediate step, but I think a player who performs well here will earn a reputation at the top level quicker.

"In these types of competitions [Serie A and the Champions League] you just learn a lot."

Roma have persistently denied talk of an imminent offer for Strootman, with club CEO Mauro Baldissoni recently hitting out at continued speculation linking the Dutch midfielder will a move to Old Trafford.

With club owner James Palotta having already told reporters that not even an offer of £75m would be enough to prise the player away from the Stadio Olimpico, Baldissoni condemned fresh reports and insisted Strootman remains integral to the club's plans.

"Strootman? We have already expressed our position," Baldissoni told Radio Anch'lo Sport. "Our president [James Pallotta] gets angry on a daily basis over reports that we want to close the sale to Manchester United.

"Our policy is to invest in quality players who have room for improvement. Kevin is a young player, experienced, and we want to bass our future on players like him."