Manchester United continue to be linked with a plethora of players across Europe, as new manager Louis van Gaal continues to rebuild the Red Devils ahead of the 2014-15 Premier League season.
On Monday it was Mats Hummels reportedly signing for United, now Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
The Fiorentina wideman, 26, shone at the 2014 World Cup as Los Cafeteros made the quarterfinals. He linked up superbly with Colombia’s star man James Rodriguez and his powerful running and exceptional crossing from the left flank caught plenty of attention.
According to Catalan newspaper Sport, they claim that both Barcelona and Manchester United are battling it out for Cuadrado and Fiorentina want at least $55 million for the Colombian international. United are said to have already offered the amount reported for Cuadrado and are waiting to hear if they can talk to the attacker.
With United’s wingers underwhelming last season, both Nani and Antonio Valencia struggled while teenager Adnan Januzaj drifted in and out of the campaign, van Gaal should certain look to be strengthening in this area. Cuadrado has spent five seasons in Serie A with Udinese, Lecce and La Viola. Last season was by far his most productive from a pure numbers standpoint as he scored 15 times in 43 outings for the Florence club. At the World Cup he bagged four assists and scored once as his runs beyond the full back and pin-point crossing created plenty of chances for his teammates.
United fans, don’t get too excited. As we do with all rumors, reports and stories during the ‘silly season’ lets take this with a pinch of salt until we get a tad more substance.
That said, Cuadrado is a cracking player who should be playing for an elite club in Europe. He proved his worth at the World Cup as Colombia captured the imaginations of neutrals across the globe with their enterprising, attacking play.
We will see Cuadrado championing that at Old Trafford next season?
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday