Louis van Gaal has made the decision to cool his interest in Juan Cuadrado, as he wants to ensure that his defensive issues are resolved before focusing his attention on anything else.
According to the Daily Express the Manchester United boss will no longer be pursuing the World Cup ace, as he is keen to bring in another central defender to act as a figurehead for the trio of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans. This follows a protracted saga which has seen Cuadrado linked heavily with an Old Trafford switch, with a sum of around £35 million said to be enough to convince Fiorentina to let him go.
Van Gaal’s call
However it now seems as though Van Gaal is willing to run the risk of Jose Mourinho stealing a march on Cuadrado - Chelsea have also been linked with him - as they’re prepared to drop out of the race altogether.
Few United fans will argue with the idea that the defence needs bolstering before any other areas of the pitch are addressed, and the notion of Van Gaal concentrating on landing a player of the calibre of Mats Hummels will give them confidence.
For there have been concerns that amidst all the excitement and anticipation regarding the attacking threat that the Red Devils will pose, their deficiencies at the back - somewhat further exposed by the departures of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra - could go unnoticed.
It is perhaps bad news for Cuadrado however, as reports have suggested that the Colombia international is keen to leave his current club. Fiorentina managed a fourth place Serie A finish last term, but they remain some way off the quality of league leaders Juventus, and so the 26-year-old desires a move to further his personal ambitions.
Yet in a blow which comes only a day after Barcelona were said to be considering dropping their interest due to the fact that Daniel Alves is tipped to stay on at the Nou Camp, his options are running thin. Should Mourinho now rule himself out of the running, as he may well do given the wide options already at his disposal, it could mean Cuadrado is forced to remain at Fiorentina for the foreseeable future.
Amongst the players Van Gaal is believed to be chasing instead of Cuadrado, the likes of Mats Hummels, Kostas Manolas, Marcos Rojo and Mehdi Benatia are the most prominent names. United kick off their Premier League campaign against Swansea on Saturday, but they won’t be able to call upon the services of any of those individuals.