Manchester United line up Rojo, Blind and Di María
Three Louis van Gaal targets could cost combined €100m
Manchester United are lining up a move for Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo. Photograph: Jose Sena Goulao/EPA
Louis van Gaal hopes to sign the Argentina defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon for €20 million and is renewing his interest in Ángel di María after the Real Madrid forward’s proposed transfer to Paris Saint-Germain fell through.
The Dutchman is also considering a move for Ajax’s Daley Blind, all of which underlines the manager’s determination to strengthen his Manchester United squad considerably in the final days of the transfer window ahead of its close in just over two weeks time.
Rojo is a left-sided defender who can operate at centre back, possesses considerable pace and is only 24, so fits the ideal of a Van Gaal player. The manager wants to deploy him at wing back in his proposed 3-5-2 system or in the centre of defence.
Given his considerable international experience – Rojo played all 120 minutes of the World Cup final last month and was named in the team of the tournament – Van Gaal would have no qualms regarding his ability to adapt to the Premier League. The former Estudiantes player also has experience of Russian football, having spent the 2011-12 season at Spartak Moscow.
While Rojo’s contract may contain third-party elements that can be common for players in Portuguese football, there is confidence at United that this will not be a problem. Reports in Portugal also suggested that Rojo had refused to train on Tuesday to force his transfer through.
If Rojo, Di María and Blind were landed, United’s total outlay would be more than €100 million. Yet despite Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera already arriving during the window for a combined €70 million, the club has set no limits on the funds available to Van Gaal.
For his proposed 3-5-2 system, Van Gaal wants players of pace to operate at wing back and the 63-year-old is conscious that Di María also has this quality, plus an attacking threat that would be a potent force against Premier League defences.
Di María had appeared certain to join PSG after the French club held discussions with Real about signing the 26-year-old but the deal broke down after the president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, said that the asking price for the 26-year-old was “too expensive”.
While Real’s demand is thought to have been more than €60 million, PSG’s judgment that this was too costly has cleared the way for United to lodge a bid if Van Gaal gives the go-ahead for a player who, despite being voted man of the match in Real’s Champions League final victory over Atlético Madrid in May, is deemed surplus to requirements after the expensive arrivals of James Rodríguez and Toni Kroos, from Monaco and Bayern Munich respectively.