Manchester United have submitted a £29 million offer for Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado. The 26-year-old Colombia international, who scored 15 goals for his club last season, impressed during the recent World Cup finals in Brazil.
This information comes courtesy of the Daily Star, who cite reports from Italy as claiming United boss Louis van Gaal has given the green light for the Red Devils to bring the player to Old Trafford this summer.
United jump to front of queue
A host of top European clubs are reportedly keen on Cuadrado, including Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Barcelona. But United are believed to have moved to the front of the queue after Van Gaal sanctioned the £29 million bid.
If accepted - and if the player agrees personal terms with the Red Devils - Cuadrado will become the joint-fourth most expensive signing in Manchester United's history, alongside Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, who arrived from Athletic Bilbao for the same fee earlier this summer.
Juan Cuadrado: Scout report
As this video shows, Cuadrado is a lively right-sided attacking winger who wants to run at defenders every time he picks up the ball. Last season he added goals to his game, scoring 11 in 32 Serie A appearances.
Furthermore, his excellent work-rate means Van Gaal may consider using the South American as a right wing-back - with Luke Shaw playing from the opposite flank - against certain opponents.
Do United need Cuadrado?
If Van Gaal plans to use wing-backs, rather than traditional full-backs, at Old Trafford next season then Cuadrado would be a superb signing. But both Antonio Valencia - who signed a new three-year deal last month - and Rafael are also capable of playing similar roles, meaning competition for places will be fierce.
However, Van Gaal is not about to sign a player for close to £30 million and then use them as a substitute. If Cuadrado signs, he will be the Red Devils' new first-choice right winger.
Van Gaal continues summer spending
If all goes to plan for Van Gaal, United's summer expenditure will be pushing the £90 million-mark with the acquisition of Cuadrado. Both Herrera and Shaw cost close to £30 million apiece.
But the revered Dutch coach wants to bring several more new players in key positions to Old Trafford, while shifting the deadwood. Van Gaal could axe as many as seven players before the summer transfer window closes on September 2, while defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Mats Hummels - from Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, respectively - plus Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal remain his top transfer targets.