In a saga that has mirrored Manchester United’s transfer window as a whole, there continues to be delay and some confusion over the attempts to bring in Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo. The Argentina international, who can play at center-back or left-back and is likely being targeted for a role as the left of three center-backs at Old Trafford, had gone on strike before returning and apologizing after Manchester United made a €20 million (£16m) offer last week. There have also been complications between Sporting and a third-party who own much of the player’s rights. But on Monday night, it appeared that the transfer was finally set to go through.
"It's a dream to play at Manchester United and I am very proud of having the chance to work with [Louis] van Gaal,” Rojo told Argentinean radio station Continental. “I spoke with [former Manchester United midfielder] Juan Sebastián Verón about Manchester United when we were at Estudiantes. I have always liked English football, and I should adapt to this new playing style easily.”
Rojo also apologized for refusing to train in an effort to force through a move, but there has yet to be any further movement on Tuesday. The deal could be further complicated by the involvement of Nani, who Sporting want on a season-long loan as part of the arrangement. However, despite reports that Rojo was still training in Portugal on Tuesday morning, the suggestion that he missed the afternoon session and that Nani is close to agreeing the switch back to the club from which he joined United in 2007 provides encouragement that the deal will, eventually happen. Indeed, Portuguese publication Record claimed that Rojo was set to imminently board a flight to Manchester.
The same level of confidence cannot be expressed right now about the prospects of Arturo Vidal’s long-rumored transfer to Manchester United coming to fruition. Both The Guardian and ESPN have pieces on Tuesday on the strange, conflicting messages coming out of Old Trafford about manager Louis van Gaal’s interest in the Juventus midfielder. Certainly at face value, there is arguably no player in the world as equipped to solve United’s long-standing problems in midfield in one fell swoop. Able to tackle, pass and drive forward to score, the Chilean is quite possibly the best all-round midfielder on the planet. Yet, despite all the speculation, there has been no statement of United’s interest either publicly or privately to the press.
The only explanation that makes sense is that United are wary of a knee injury that Vidal picked up late last season and which hampered his performances in this summer’s World Cup. Paying a club-record transfer fee for a player who relies so heavily on his power and athleticism and has yet to show that he can get back to his best would undoubtedly be a risk. Yet, given the now desperate state of the club’s predicament with just two weeks remaining of the transfer window, it could be decided that it is a gamble worth taking. The fear, though, is it might be too late. Following speculation that a deadline imposed by Juventus for any transfer to be completed has now passed, new coach Massimiliano Allegri has hinted that he doesn’t see Vidal going anywhere.
"It is normal that there are rumors about him: the great teams search for the great players,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “But Vidal is already in a great team."
Right now, there is more encouragement that Manchester United will be able to get a transfer done for Real Madrid’s Ángel di María. It is widely believed that Madrid are keen to sell Di María, following their purchases of James Rodríguez and Toni Kroos. Speaking ahead of the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Tuesday night, manager Carlo Ancelotti did not rule out the versatile Argentinean’s exit.
“I don’t know what Di María has decided,” he said, according to Spanish publication AS. “He’s ready to play and he can play for the team. Up to 31 August that’s our line. Whether he stays or goes everything will return to normal.”
The Daily Mail has reported that Manchester United are willing to put forward as much as £100 million on a deal for Di María, by offering him a contract worth £200,000 a week in addition to a £50 million transfer fee to Real Madrid. Whether that will be sufficient, with Monaco also keen and the possibility that Paris Saint-Germain could renew their previous interest, remains to be seen.
It always appeared unlikely that another man linked to Manchester United, Marco Reus, would arrive from Borussia Dortmund this summer, however there has been fresh speculation that a deal could happen in a year’s time. The presence of a clause in the Germany international’s contract that could allow him to move next summer for as little as €25 million (£20m) has been much discussed. And Bayern Munich’s honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, likely fueling a further deteriorating in relations with Dortmund, has named Manchester United as one of the possible destinations for Reus.
“Yes, I can imagine him at Bayern very well,” he told German tabloid Bild. “If you can get a player of his class, you must try it. If he doesn’t go to Bayern in 2015, he will probably go to another big international club such as Real Madrid or Manchester United. Dortmund are unlikely to be able to hold on to him.”