Manchester United could sign Juan Cuadrado for free next year if the Fiorentina winger fails to earn a dream move to either Old Trafford, Barcelona or Chelsea this summer. The Colombia international is keen to leave his current employers, whose €50 million asking price is proving to be a stumbling block for all three interested clubs.
Fiorentina are not prepared to negotiate on the €50 million fee which has reportedly priced La Liga giants Barcelona out of the race for the South American’s signature. Chelsea are also reluctant to pay such a high fee for the right-sided winger, while United are not willing to break their £37.1 million transfer record for the player, according to the Daily Star.
But La Viola risk losing him for nothing this time next year, when Cuadrado’s contract expires, unless they either sell now or in January, or convince him to stay put at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Cuadrado has a preference to join Barcelona this summer and Spanish newspaper Marca claim that a gentleman’s agreement is in place between the Catalan club and the player.
Barcelona switch attention to Douglas
However, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has now turned his attention to 24-year-old Brazilian right-back Douglas, who plies his trade with Sao Paulo. The former Brazil Under-20 international, at £5.6 million, would cost a fraction of the price Fiorentina want for Cuadrado.
If that deal goes through then Barcelona will end their interest in Cuadrado, leaving Manchester United free to sign the potential right wing-back.
Cuadrado, according to the same report, could go on strike in a last-ditch attempt to force a move to the Camp Nou this summer. However, the 26-year-old is said to be reluctant to take such action.
Watch: Juan Cuadrado in action
Man United still in pole position for Cuadrado?
That both Manchester United and Barcelona are keen to sign Cuadrado is no surprise. Both Enrique and United boss Louis van Gaal will deploy wing-backs this season - and the Colombian showed at the World Cup finals in Brazil that he is more than capable of playing in that role.
Cuadrado has spent the majority of his career playing in a more advanced position on the right wing, but his superb work ethic makes him a dream potential signing for both coaches.
Mourinho, on the other hand, does not deploy wing-backs in his system - and will only require Cuadrado’s services if Andre Schurrle is sold to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain.
The fear of losing Cuadrado for nothing, however, may convince Fiorentina to negotiate with Barcelona and Manchester United before the transfer window closes on September 1.