Manchester United have reportedly made an offer for Wolfsburg and Switzerland left-back Ricardo Rodríguez. The player, who impressed during his country’s appearance at the World Cup in Brazil, is seen as security should veteran Patrice Evra leave the club and competition for new signing, Luke Shaw.
Although Evra has agreed to stay at Old Trafford for another season, he is understood to be unhappy at playing second fiddle to Shaw who joined United from Southampton for $51 million. Furthermore, Italian giants Juventus remains keen on signing Evra and so incoming United boss Louis van Gaal is mindful of the fact he could lose the player at a moment’s notice.
It is understood Wolfsburg want around $26 million for the defender and expect to get it should United pursue their interest. Van Gaal is interested in a number of players and with in excess of $171 million to spend on who he wants, selling clubs know they can hold out for what they want.
Reports in some newspapers have suggested that van Gaal is prepared to allow misfit Marouane Fellaini go in the other direction. Italians Fiorentina are also said to have expressed an interest in the player but have not managed to come up with the asking price. The Belgium international joined United last summer for a fee in the region of $47 million. Fellaini failed to make an impact and David Moyes, the then United boss who worked with the player at Everton was heavily-criticized by the English media.
Now that United have made an offer for Rodríguez, Fellaini along with a number of fringe players will be expected to leave Old Trafford as van Gaal looks to take a number of players off the wage bill. His fellow Dutchman and left-back Alexander Büttner was recently allowed to leave United for Dynamo Moscow in a deal thought to be worth $7.5 million. The player then launched an attack on his former club by claiming he left in order to play in the Champions League – a tournament United will be absent from come the new season.
Apart from Shaw, United’s only other big summer signing to date is midfielder Ander Herrera who joined from Athletic Bilbao, who can play wide as well in other areas of midfield. As soon as van Gaal and the Netherlands part company at this year’s World Cup – the Netherlands is currently scheduled to meet Argentina in the semi-final on Wednesday – the former Ajax, Barcelona and the Bayern Munich boss will join United for a pre-season tour of the United States. He said he plans to have all his business completed by the time the season starts and so he will be expected to make at least a couple more signings in a bid to restore United to the top of the Premier League. Rodríguez is likely to be the next before bids for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal are said to follow. Unsettled Portuguese winger Nani and perhaps Fellaini could be makeweights in any deals to bring players to the Theatre of Dreams as van Gaal tries to make United champions again.
By Robert Shepherd