It’s been the bread and butter of transfer columns for as long as most Manchester United fans care to remember, but it would seem that the results of Juan Cuadrado’s highly anticipated showdown talks with Fiorentina are in.
The Colombian winger was scheduled to meet with his club’s chiefs today and has apparently told them to seek negotiations with both Louis van Gaal and Barcelona’s Luis Enrique. Put simply he wants out.
The 26-year-old, who further shot to prominence with his performances at this summer’s World Cup, has emerged as a top target for both United and their Catalan counterparts, and even the £32million price tag on his head has done little to halt their advances.
Now, despite it being a scenario Van Gaal was likely to keen to avoid, it looks as though an out and out bidding war might commence. United of course have plenty of cash, but Barca have the allure of the Champions League which could be enough to turn the tide in their favour.
If that is the case then it will be a big blow to the Red Devils, who apparently see Cuadrado as the ideal man to fill the wing-back position in their new 3-5-2 setup.
Though Luke Shaw will no doubt have things under control on the opposite flank question marks remain over both Rafael and Antonio Valencia, and Van Gaal will duly be far more comfortable knowing he can choose a player he has brought in himself.
That being said Cuadrado's style of fast, skilful play is more suited to La Liga, and the chance to play alongside the sort of stars the Nou Camp outfit boast could be another decisive factor.
Vermaelen to Barca
And, whilst on the subject of tides, it would appear that the La Liga giants could ride the wave of momentum with regards to the pursuit of Thomas Vermaelen. It's been claimed today that Barca are the frontrunners for his signature, and certain sources even state that he's on the verge of sealing a move their to join the likes of Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic.
Once again it’s United who will lose out should they get their man, but reports yesterday were clear in indicating that Arsenal want to avoid letting their captain join their biggest Premier League rivals - it just isn’t Van Gaal’s day.
A move to Barca would likely allow the Belgian star to remain in the good books of Arsenal supporters, but how quickly can he adapt to Spanish football?