Manchester United are linked with a countless number of players throughout the year. Some very familiar players and some not so familiar ones. In this column we help you find out a bit more about the players linked with Manchester United. We have previously focused on Athletic Bilbao’s promising center back Aymeric Laporte and in this edition we focus on Fiorentina’s speedster Juan Cuadrado.
Full Name : Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Bello
Born : 26th May 1988 (age 26)
Place of Birth : Necoclí, Colombia
Nationality : Colombian
Positions : Attacking Midfielder (Center, Left, Right) , Striker , Wing-back (Right), Full-back (Right)
Preferred Foot : Right
Current Club : Fiorentina
Club Debut : 2-1 win VS Udinese Aug 25, 2012
International Debut : Columbia vs Venezuela on 3 September 2010
Value : £25.1 million (Transfermarkt.com), £27 million (Rumored Release Clause)
Juan Cuadrado is definitely not a new name as far as players linked with Manchester United are considered. United were strongly linked with the player last summer before he signed a new contract with La Viola.
In a recent press conference Louis Van Gaal stated that he is looking to buy “multi-functional” players rather than “specialists” who can only operate in one position. Cuadrado definetely fits into Van Gaal’s description of a multi-functional versatile player. Although widely regarded as a right winger Cuadrado has the ability to operate in a great array of positions. Cuadrado started his career as a striker but since then he has played as a right winger, left winger, central midfielder, central attacking midfielder, right back and right wing back at different points in his career. Having the ability to play multiple positions dosent make you a good player, too far often do we see players classed as versatile turn out to be “Jack of all trades, Master of None”. Juan Cuadrado is definetely a jack of all trades and his performances for Fiorentina and Comlumbia shows that he is a master of a few of those trades. Apart from his Versatility Cuadrado’s main strength’s are his blistering pace and dribbling abilities. Last season Cuadrado averaged 3.69 successful take ons per game. Half way through this season and Cuadrado is averaging 2.67 successful take ons per game. This is a better rate than Angel Di Maria who we all can agree has been pretty good at Manchester United. Last season was Cuadrado’s most prolific season at Fiorentina where he scored 15 goals and made 5 assists in 32 games mostly playing as a right winger. He finished the season with 1.72 key passes per game, 1.87 chances created per game, 86% Pass Completion and 42% shot accuracy. Let’s not even bother comparing this with any of our wingers from last season.
Louis Van Gaal has kept faith in his 3-5-2 formation for the majority of the season deploying Antonio Valencia as the right wing back. Juan Cuadrado would be the perfect upgrade on Valencia and would add much needed quality to the right hand side of United . Having previously played in the position for both Fiorentina and Udinese Cuadrado would be no stranger to the role and could help make United much more threatening on the counter with his pace and ability to beat a player. If and when Louis Van Gaal reverts back to the 4-3-3 Cuadrado will be an upgrade on any of the right wingers we have at the club at the moment.
With Fiorentina struggling in the league this season Cuadrado is rumored to be looking for a move away from the club after being frustrated with the direction the club are heading in since he signed a new contract back in august. Rumors in Italy suggest Manchester United are in leading the chase for Cudrado ahead of the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich with the player and his agent also interested in pushing through a move in January. £27 million wouldn’t be the worst investment to sign a player of the quality of Cuadrado who is “multi-functional” but surely there are more urgent matters that need to be addressed in the January window for Manchester United.
All stats from Squawka