Manchester United have stepped up their efforts to sign a new defender before the transfer window slams shut by offering €20m for Argentine World Cup star Marcos Rojo, according to Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
Rojo shone at the South American showpiece at left-back, but has spent the majority of two seasons with Sporting in the centre of defence and would represent a versatile option for new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, particularly given his preference for a 3-5-2 system.
Liverpool, Southampton, Arsenal and Chelsea have all tracked Rojo over the last few months and definitely all need defensive cover, but United are only the second team to table a concrete offer and are now confident of completing an important acquisition before the transfer window slams shut.
Two Portuguese publications in O Jogo and Record have led with United's formal offer for Rojo on their front pages this morning, but the process of bringing the 24-year-old to Old Trafford is far from straightforward.
For starters Sporting only directly own 25% of Rojo's registration rights, with the remaining 75% belonging to the Doyen Group, a private investment firm with a proven track record of selling stars plying their trade in Portugal at a hefty profit.
O Jogo believes United's offer is worth an initial €12m up front and includes an option for a further €8m in performance-related bonuses.
Negotiations look likely to continue
Sporting have already turned down an offer worth €17m from Southampton this summer and are still hoping a bidding war produced by Rojo's World Cup form will hike his price tag up further, but are prepared to cash in this summer if the price is right.
Time running out to strengthen
Van Gaal must be desperate for United to bring him fresh reinforcements ahead of his debut Premier League campaign, particularly after losing the race to sign Thomas Vermaelen.
Rojo could provide stern competition for Luke Shaw in the left-wing back role and also prove just as effective in a three-man central defence, but the structure of United's bid will likely have to change to get a third major summer deal over the line this month.
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