Porto star James Rodriguez is being targeted as a potential replacement for unsettled Manchester United winger Nani, according to the Daily Mirror. The Colombia international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for some time and United’s interest may now be heightened given the increasing uncertainty of Nani’s Old Trafford future.
The 25-year-old has just over 18 months remaining on his contract and was said to be close to a £25 million move to Zenit St Petersburg in the summer. While that deal reportedly fell through over Nani’s wage demands, it is now claimed by the Mirror that both Juventus and Milan will target the Portugal international in a cut-price £12 million deal next summer.
While Nani has become more consistent since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2007, he can still be a frustrating presence at times for the Old Trafford crowd. The arrival of Rodriguez is one that would surely excite fans. The fact that he is predominantly left-footed is also likely to appeal to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, given that United’s other wide players are all right-footed.
Rodriguez came to prominence last season as he scored 13 goals in just 14 league starts. He has started this campaign in similar vein, with four goals in all competitions already to his name. The 21-year-old has said that he is aware of United’s interest.
“We all know that Manchester United are a great club,” he said, according to the Mirror.
“England is a great league but I’m thinking of Porto for now. We’re having a good time and personally I’m feeling fine and am focused on there.”
While a move for Rodriguez is likely to continue to be discussed, there appears little chance of United landing another of their reported targets—Arturo Vidal.
The Juventus midfielder has been a major success in Turin since joining the club from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2011 and recent reports have claimed that he was on Ferguson’s radar.
However, Vidal has reiterated his commitment to the Italian champions.
“You always start with dreams, and when you arrive in a great team the others look at you,” he said, according to TalkSport. “But I'm happy here."
The summer arrival of Robin van Persie has given United a wealth of attacking options, but also cast into doubt the futures of more than one United striker. Chief among them is Federico Macheda.
The Italian has so far failed to fulfill the promise of the sensational impact he made on the United first team as a 17-year-old and he has spent spells on loan at Queens Park Rangers and Sampdoria in the past two seasons.
The 21-year-old’s agent has now claimed that if he fails to move up the pecking order before the next transfer window, the forward’s situation will be reevaluated.
"Manchester United have some phenomenal players in attack, so it is truly difficult for Federico to find space,” Giovanni Bia said, according to Sky Sports. “It's not true what they write in the English papers that he's going through a bad spell.
"He wants to play and if he cannot do so by January then we'll try to find an alternative solution. I will talk to Sir Alex Ferguson over the next few days.
"Federico was requested by German and Spanish teams over the summer, but the English club preferred to keep hold of him.
"I hope they understand the situation and let him leave in January, because it makes no sense to keep a 21-year-old on the bench."