Juan Cuadrado will tell Fiorentina this Wednesday that he wants to move to Barcelona and not Manchester United, according to Spanish sources.
Catalan newspaper Sport claims that Colombian ace, who has found himself firmly on Louis van Gaal’s radar thanks to his superlative-inspiring performances in the World Cup, will force a move to the Nou Camp if he has to, and wants to transfer there ahead of Old Trafford. This is in direct conflict to reports yesterday which insinuated that he would opt for United because Barca weren’t prepared to pay him what he wanted.
Move for Cuadrado
Capable of playing in an attacking berth out wide or as a wingback - which coincidentally suits the system Van Gaal is trying to implement at United - Cuadrado has emerged as one of the most promising talents in European football, and as such the competition for his signature was always going to be fierce.
Nevertheless Van Gaal will have reason to feel aggrieved with this latest revelation, as it now seems that Cuadrado has become the first high-profile name in a while to turn him down. The Dutchman has enjoyed success with his transfer endeavours so far, and the purchases of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera have significantly boosted morale around the United camp.
Barca the only option
Despite that though the report in question claims that Cuadrado is so desperate to opt for Catalonia instead of Manchester that he’s willing to forego the extra financial incentives on offer at the latter. United are said to be prepared to put a much higher salary on the table, but the allure of Champions League football, and no doubt playing alongside Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta on a weekly basis, appears to have won the day.
And now the 26-year-old, said to be valued at €35million, will inform his current club tomorrow of his intentions to make the switch to La Liga, thus ending any hope Van Gaal may have had of making him his first-choice right wing-back.
Of course it’s far from the end of the world for United, and the position in question falls into the category of ‘could be improved’ rather than ‘in dire need of improvement’. Antonio Valencia and Rafael are both capable of filling the role effectively moving forward if needs be, with the former having only recently penned a new three-year deal.
In Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 setup - which utilises the pace and stamina of two wide-men who act as both defensive fullbacks and attacking options - Cuadrado would be effective, but he’s far from an essential purchase.