Manchester United will need to fend off stiff competition from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich to secure the services of Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, who is rapidly establishing his reputation as one of Europe’s best full-backs.
The 22-year-old Switzerland international has flourished at Wolfsburg since completing his £7.5 million move from Zurich in 2012 and has caught the eye of several top European clubs over the past 12 months.
Van Gaal keen
Manchester United are believed to be keen - reports on Saturday from German magazine Kicker claimed Louis van Gaal will push hard to sign the defender either when the transfer window re-opens in January or next summer - even though the 20-time English champions spent £27 million on England international Luke Shaw in June.
Furthermore, Van Gaal also brought Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind to Old Trafford during the summer months - another two players capable of playing at left-back.
According to German media outfit Blick - and brought to our attention by the Daily Star - Guardiola was impressed by Rodriguez’s performances for the Swiss national team at the World Cup finals in Brazil and hopes to add him to his ranks in the near future.
Like Van Gaal, Guardiola also has several options for the left full-back position. David Alaba is widely regarded as one of the Bundesliga’s best full-backs, while Spain Under-21 international Juan Bernat arrived at the Allianz Arena from Valencia in the summer on a five-year deal.
However, Rodriguez has been so impressive that it seems both Guardiola and Van Gaal are prepared to re-jig their squads in order to accommodate the accomplished left-back.
Rodriguez happy at Wolfsburg
The Swiss star insists that he is happy at the Volkswagen Arena, but will soon need to back up his words by signing a new contract.
Rodriguez has two years left on his current deal with Wolfsburg, who run the risk of losing him for a significantly lower fee than their £25 million asking price by allowing his contract to run down.
It’s understood that Rodriguez may consider his stance if United or Bayern Munich submit a formal offer, but it remains to be seen whether either club will be willing to pay anything close to £25 million.
Whether United make a bid could depend on Shaw’s performances between now and the New Year. The former Southampton starlet impressed on his first competitive start for the Red Devils, against West Ham on Saturday, and has the opportunity to convince Van Gaal that he deserves to be United’s first-choice left-back for the foreseeable future.
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