Louis van Gaal was supposed to quickly turn Manchester United’s fortunes around, following a dreadful seventh place Premier League finish last term under David Moyes. And yet despite boasting a war chest that very few teams in Europe can rival, Van Gaal and the Red Devils have largely whiffed during the summer transfer session. There were the early June splurges on left-back Luke Shaw and central midfielder Ander Herrera, totaling £56 million in fees, but Van Gaal is still struggling to secure the signatures of Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria, Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels and especially Juventus’s Arturo Vidal. With two weeks left, its unclear if United will finally completely any of those three highly speculated deals, but two other players are in their purview.
In one instance, United’s interest in Sporting Lisbon and Argentina defender Marcos Rojo has caused a “row” between the Portuguese club and management company Doyen Sports, The Guardian reports. United reportedly bid £16 million for the 24-year-old, but Sporting rejected the offer. However, Doyen Sports technically footed 75 percent of the fee that allowed Sporting to acquire Rojo from Spartak Moscow in 2012, and their deal stipulates they receive that same percentage of any rejected bid. Now a lawsuit could be heading Sporting’s way.
“Sporting is entirely within its rights not to transfer the player Marcos Rojo, knowing that it only has to make up for the fund under the terms and deadlines as contractually established since the beginning,” the company said in a statement.
With both Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra leaving this summer, and Rojo capable of playing both center and left back, he could be a more than suitable replacement for either and allow Van Gaal some flexibility in his lineup. Sporting may eventually have no choice but to accept United’s offer, rather than risk a messy court battle.
Another option for Van Gaal to pursue is Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado. Metro reported Thursday that United and Chelsea are the favorites to land Cuadrado, 26, now that Barcelona have “dropped out.” Following his and Colombia’s incredible World Cup performance, Cuadrado has seen his market value skyrocket to about £28 million, something his current Italian side is highly aware of. As a result, Fiorentina have reportedly asked for as much as £36 million for their highest-rated winger that’s helped them return to the top of the Serie A table.
Several reports throughout the summer have indicated that Nani is out of Van Gaal’s favor, even after he looked to be in much better form during Portugal’s World Cup run, and Cuadrado could slide right into his place. After two years in Florence, Cuadrado has totaled 16 goals and 11 assists, evidence he’s equally a deft scorer and playmaker.
Of course just who Cuadrado could be feeding at the top of Old Trafford’s attack is up for some debate. According to Daily Mirror, Hull are hoping to acquire forward Danny Welbeck for £14 million, after the English was reportedly told by Van Gaal that first-team time this coming term will be sparse. Welbeck is also eager to stay in top form for England’s national squad and with no Champions League on the horizon for United this term he’s unlikely to leave the bench much this term.