Manchester United may not have finished in the top four of the Premier League, but they did manage to qualify for the Champions League next season by becoming the Europa League champions. Over the course of an injury-riddled and testing season for new manager Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils also managed to pick up the League Cup and Community Shield for a three-trophy haul.
Last season, Manchester United broke the bank, and the world record transfer fee, to pull in Paul Pogba from Juventus, and managed to sign elite striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free. With so many injury troubles and gaping holes in the team, Mourinho will be hoping to get reinforcements for next season.
Closing in on James Rodriguez
As reported by Sky Sports, United are getting close to signing Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodriguez. Right now, the odds online support this report, pitting Manchester United as favourites to sign the fleet-footed Columbian.
While Rodriguez wasn’t exactly a star of Real Madrid’s double-winning season – La Liga and Champions League – he is still a wildly talented player nonetheless. Now 25-years-old, Rodriguez signed for Los Blancos after his emphatic 2014 World Cup performances, during which he won the Puskas Award for scoring the goal of the year.
There’s no way that the Colombian will come cheap, especially as Real Madrid are such a financial giant. However, with Jose Mourinho saying that he’s left Ed Woodward to bring in his four key signings, per Manchester Evening News, it’s very likely that the frivolous executive vice-chairman is going to be simply throwing the millions around in this window.
Rodriguez: the signing that Manchester United need?
Despite the signing of Paul Pogba, Manchester United significantly lacked an attacking spark in centre midfield. Pogba was a strong aerial threat and poised on the ball, often delivering great long balls up the pitch to Zlatan Ibrahimovic; but when he tried to force the attack with the ball at his feet, it often ended in him becoming dispossessed.
Michael Carrick, who has signed on for another season, is more of a holding midfielder. He’ll hold the ball up in the middle of the park and spray it around when needed, controlling the tempo of the game. Ander Herrera was a dogged defensive midfielder, locking onto the opposition’s midfield stars and nullifying them. He was a workhorse and did a fine job for the defence-oriented team.
Then there’s Marouane Fellaini. The gangly midfielder splits opinion with Manchester United fans: while he does pose a physical presence and bullies the opposition, he’s a huge foul liability and isn’t great at passing the ball or keeping possession.
The Red Devils need an attacking midfielder who will carry the ball up the field with pace, is a threat from distance and plays with flair. James Rodriguez ticks all of those boxes, and then some. With the ball at his feet, Rodriguez will play one-twos to get him past the back line, drive at them with the ball at his feet, lob the ball over the top, or even take a shot from outside of the box.
James Rodriguez will, without a doubt, come at a huge price, but Ed Woodward doesn’t seem to mind too much about that. His addition, should it come to fruition, will greatly improve the Manchester United team and add a completely new, attacking element to their play.