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Man Utd must target Real Madrid sure thing over Fiorentina risk

| 11.08.2014

Deposed Premier League champions Manchester United continue to be linked with an imminent move for Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado, despite new coach Louis van Gaal strongly hinting that he’d much prefer Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal commented on United supremo Ed Woodward’s insistence that the club would be willing to break transfer records in the right circumstances by stating:

“…we don’t have wingers of the highest level, like Ronaldo or Di Maria or somebody like that. So, I have to play in another way – and you have seen that already. I only buy when I think we need to buy – in the position that is necessary.”

The 63-year-old barely takes a stupid breath and will have chosen those words carefully, in the knowledge that Los Blancos want rid of their 26-year-old Argentine, whose sale would go a long way to covering their £63m outlay for former Monaco man James Rodriguez.

James’ Colombia teammate Cuadrado is reportedly discussing personal terms with Woodward and co ahead of an Old Trafford switch, although the same sources claim La Viola and the Red Devils are yet to agree a fee.

With Fiorentina thought to be demanding £32m for the former Udinese man, United would be better off abandoning this pursuit in order to regroup and raise a few million more before heading to the Bernabeu with full pockets.

Cuadrado sparkled in Brazil up until the quarter-final stage, scoring once and laying on another four goals for teammates.

However, in the biggest game of his life against the hosts in the last eight, Cuadrado struggled to make a pass stick.

The 26-year-old wideman’s pass completion rate for the tournament was 84.5 per cent, according to WhoScored.com, but Cuadrado managed to complete only 67 per cent in the biggest game of his life.

It’s fair to say Di Maria did not shine like we know he can at the World Cup, and injury prevented him from taking part after the quarter-final stage, but he was majestic in Real’s Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid in May.

That was the biggest game of Di Maria’s career so far, which suggests he has the temperament – as well as the ability – that Van Gaal craves.

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Alex Fortune