Manchester United have been handed a major boost in the race to sign Chelsea target Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina after Barcelona pulled out of the race for his signature in order to focus on landing Brazilian full-back Douglas, according to reports in Spain.
The Red Devils desperately need to bolster their squad before the close of the transfer window, but is running out of time to do just that.
So far Manchester United have added Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw to their squad for a combined fee of around £60 million, but since those two signed on the dotted line in July there has been no more new arrivals.
That could soon change however, with Spanish newspaper Sport claiming that Manchester United are now in pole position to land Cuadrado after Barcelona admitted defeat in the race to sign him and set their sights on another target altogether - Sao Paulo full back Douglas.
The Catalan club are believed to have been put off by Fiorentina's asking price for Cuadrado which is around €50 million. Manchester United executive vice-president Ed Woodward has made it clear that he's willing to break the world transfer record for the right player this summer, so would presumably have no issue with coughing up that sort of money for the Colombian.
Barcelona are likely to now wrap up a €7 million swoop for Douglas, while they have identified Leo of Flamengo if that deal falls through.
Despite the fact that Manchester United are now clear favourites to sign him - the bookmakers have the Red Devils at 1/2 to be the winger's next club - there is still a chance that Chelsea could have their say.
Reports in Spain say Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is eyeing up a swoop to snatch him from Manchester United, and could launch a big-money bid soon.
One factor that could help Chelsea hijack the deal is that Marko Marin has been sent to Fiorentina on loan for the new season. It's unlikely that the Blues would let Marin join the Serie A outfit without a mention of Cuadrado, and could try and use that to their advantage when it comes to negotiations.
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