Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado is believed to be angry with Barcelona after the Catalan giants urged him to submit a formal transfer request to his current employers in order to force a move to the Camp Nou. Manchester United have subsequently been handed an advantage in their pursuit of the Colombia international.
This is according to the Express, who cite sources in Italy as claiming that Cuadrado and Fiorentina are unhappy with Barcelona’s under-hand tactics.
Barcelona and Man Utd locked in battle
Barcelona may have resorted to utilising unprofessional methods to secure Cuadrado’s signature because of Manchester United’s presence.
The Red Devils, despite spending close to £60 million on Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw this summer, still have a hefty transfer budget to play with - and find themselves in a better financial position than Barcelona, who have spent over £90 million on the signings of Luis Suarez and Jeremy Mathieu.
The Catalan giants have, however, recouped a large amount of cash on the sales of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas.
Fiorentina’s asking price
However, Fiorentina’s huge €50 million asking price is likely to prove a stumbling block for both European giants.
The Italian club’s sporting director, Daniele Prade, confirmed on Tuesday that no bids have been received for the lively South American winger so far - but that a bid in the region of €50 million would be enough to secure the player’s signature.
"We have had no official bids for Cuadrado,” he told reporters. "However it would be very difficult to refuse an offer of €50m (£40m).
"We hope he will stay with us but I must say how things are."
Juan Cuadrado: Scout report
Cuadrado: Perfect for United or Barcelona
It’s easy to understand why both Barcelona and Manchester United are so keen to sign Cuadrado, who was one of Colombia’s star performers at the recent World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 26-year-old - who was also recently linked with Arsenal - is extremely direct, quick and possesses a tremendous work ethic. He is also blessed with a keen eye for goal, netting 15 in 43 appearances for Fiorentina last season.
But it’s his work ethic which will appeal to both United boss Louis van Gaal, a former head coach at Barcelona, and the La Liga giants’ current manager Luis Enrique.
Barcelona are seeking a long-term replacement for Dani Alves - who has made a career of playing from right-back, rather than at right-back - while Manchester United, who will play with proper wing-backs for the first time next season, may regard Cuadrado as a significant upgrade on Rafael.
But it’s United who appear to be leading the race following Barcelona’s latest gaffe.