Manchester United have won the battle to sign Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado, who has given the green light for a big-money move to Old Trafford. The player’s agent is now expected to fly to Manchester to conclude negotiations with the Premier League giants.
This is according to Marca, whose well-connected journalist Marco Lopez states in his latest blog that United have beaten Barcelona to the £35 million Colombia international’s signature.
Cuadrado happy to join United
The report adds that Cuadrado’s move to Manchester United is “imminent”. The 26-year-old is happy to join the Red Devils and become Louis van Gaal’s first-choice right wing-back.
The South American is an attack-minded winger by trade, but showed at the recent World Cup finals in Brazil that he possesses an impressive work ethic and willingness to help out in a defensive capacity.
His performances did not go unnoticed by Van Gaal, who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the showpiece international tournament.
Competition with Rafael and Antonio Valencia
With Van Gaal having already implemented a 3-4-1-2 formational at United - a system which worked extremely well on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States - Cuadrado will be responsible for occupying the entire right flank.
He faces competition for a first-team place from Rafael and Antonio Valencia - but, at a reported £36 million fee, it’s safe to assume that Cuadrado will be one of the first names on the Manchester United team-sheet from the start of the 2014/15 campaign.
Indeed, it even emerged earlier today that Van Gaal wants Cuadrado to start in United’s Premier League opener against Swansea City next Saturday.
Watch: Cuadrado - Perfect for Man United
Fiorentina admit Cuadrado likely to leave
The chances of Cuadrado completing a move before the new Premier League campaign kicks off appeared to increase today when Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle revealed that the Italian club are pessimistic about their chances of retaining the Colombian ace.
"I asked Cuadrado to stay, but I'm not optimistic,” he told reporters. "If some important offers arrive, we'll have to let him go.
"We set the deadline to decide about it on August 15th, if the offers that we have in mind will arrive, it will be impossible to keep him."
United to continue spending?
Cuadrado would be a huge coup for Manchester United, but Van Gaal must still strengthen in key areas to ensure the Red Devils can compete for silverware this season.
Another centre-back is needed; however, United will not be signing Thomas Vermaelen, who will complete his move from Arsenal to Barcelona in the coming days.
Another central midfielder is also required - and speculation continues to intensify over United’s potential acquisition of Juventus star Arturo Vidal.