Louis van Gaal is preparing to launch a second bid for Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado in an attempt to secure his signature before the start of the Premier League season, reports Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Manchester United manager is keen to seal the Colombian winger and is starting to worry about growing interest from Barcelona. As a result, Van Gaal is keen to push on with negotiations quickly.
Manchester United reportedly opened the bidding for Cuadrado at £29 million, but Fiorentina rejected it and are holding out for a figure closer to £40 million. However Manchester United have put together a financial package that could tempt the Viola.
Di Marzio, a well respected journalist, believes the offer will be launched in the coming days with Van Gaal set to take his transfer business into overdrive ahead of a massive cull in the Manchester United squad.
Van Gaal will not go up to the £40 million Fiorentina are demanding, but is willing to offer £32 million including bonuses. With Fiorentina keen to cash in on Cuadrado after his World Cup exploits with Colombia, the offer could tempt them into a sale.
Having paid £10 million to purchase his full rights from Udinese, Fiorentina are under no pressure to sell their prized asset and are hoping to start a bidding war between interested parties.
Barcelona hold up
However, Barcelona are not willing to enter the race for Cuadrado unless they can rid themselves of Dani Alves. The flying full-back is surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp and Luis Enrique is keen to get the £160,000-a-week he earns off the wage bill.
Until Alves leaves, Barcelona cannot comprehend signing Cuadrado due to Financial Fair Play regulations. That leaves Manchester United as clear favourites and would explain the urgency to get a deal done quickly.
Where will he fit in?
If Cuadrado can seal a move to Old Trafford, he will likely become a key part in Van Gaal's implementation of a 3-5-2 system. Currently Antonio Valencia has been filling the right-wing-back role in pre-season friendlies and Cuadrado has similar attributes to the Ecuadorian.
Incredible pace, strength and a wicked cross, Cuadrado has the ingredients to succeed in the physical English game. There would be questions regarding his defensive capabilities, however, as, unlike Valencia, he has no experience playing at right-back.