Louis van Gaal has received a welcoming bit of news in his pursuit for another defender, after it was revealed that Argentina star Marcos Rojo is refusing to train so that he can force through a move to Old Trafford.
According to the Daily Express the powerful centre-back is aware that a bid has been received for his services which meets his £16 million release clause, and he isn’t willing to train as he doesn’t want to risk an injury which would put paid to his chances of making the switch. The 24-year-old has seen himself courted since the culmination of his impressive World Cup campaign, and both United and Liverpool have been hot on his heels.
The Sporting Lisbon star is comfortable at both centre-half and left-back, which will have factored into Van Gaal’s interest, whilst Brendan Rodgers is assessing his defensive options with the futures of Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure very much up in the air. However it’s United who are said to be in the driving seat for his signature, and earlier today it was reported that it’s they who have made the aforementioned £16 million offer.
In light of this Rojo is said to be refusing to train with Sporting, in the hope that his club will look to negotiate quickly rather than lengthening the process out. It’s thought they are after the full payment up front rather than in instalments, as they only own 25% of his rights, though this shouldn’t prove to be an obstacle given Ed Woodward’s recent comments about United having the finances to make huge moves.
The arrival of the Argentina international, should it indeed come to fruition, will no doubt bolster United’s ambitions moving forward. Though the versatile defender can’t boast the same level of experience as the likes of Mats Hummels and Thomas Vermaelen, he proved in Brazil this summer that he can remain focused in high-pressure matches, and his aerial ability will no doubt strengthen Van Gaal’s back three.
The 3-5-2 formation the Dutch is looking to implement relies heavily on the defensive trio working in a tight unit, and at the moment only Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are realistically available for selection. They’re all useful options as cover, and Jones is arguably going to be a leader for the side in the future, but none of them are figureheads at this moment in time.
As such Van Gaal knows at least one more defender must be bought in and Rojo, who can also provide cover for Luke Shaw in the left wing-back slot, makes for a suitable selection.