Juan Cuadrado Would Be an Ideal Fit for Louis van Gaal's Manchester United

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJuly 22, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: Juan Guillermo Cuadrado of Colombia celebrates his team's second goal scored by James Rodriguez (L) during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

According to Spanish daily newspaper Sport (h/t Phil Dawkes of the Daily Mirror), Manchester United have lodged a £27.7 million bid for Fiorentina winger Juan Guillermo Cuadrado.

The Colombian, who starred at the FIFA World Cup 2014 alongside Real Madrid's newest recruit James Rodriguez, was bought outright by the Florence club during the tournament in readiness for a potential sale.

It's the sort of signing the Red Devils need to be making if they are to affirm their thirst for an immediate return to the top four of the Premier League, and Cuadrado stands arguably the best right-winger on the market now that Arsenal have secured the services of Alexis Sanchez.

He's caught the eye over the last 24 months thanks to his speedy, flashy displays down the right wing for Vincenzo Montella's side, showing the versatility to play in several formations and remain a key outlet in every game.

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: Juan Guillermo Cuadrado of Colombia and Jose Cholevas of Greece battle for the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between Colombia and Greece at Estadio Mineirao on June 14, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, B
Ian Walton/Getty Images

It took him just five minutes to show the world what he could do in Brazil, twisting Greek left-back Jose Holebas inside-out on the flank before firing a low cross in for Pablo Armero to scuff home.

From that moment on, Holebas felt the same overwhelming fear Serie A left-backs feel on a weekly basis, with Cuadrado's raw pace, agility and ability to go either way making him impossible to project or second guess.

His offensive output over the past two seasons has been fine even if the statistics don't quite portray him in ideal fashion: His poor crossing numbers are representative of his preference for the low, slammed cross that causes chaos rather than the lofted, aimed one.

When you're catering for poachers such as Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez, that's fine, and a more representative metric to measure him by would be his insane dribbling success.

Juan Cuadrado's Crossing
Accurate Crosses pgTotal Accurate Crosses
13-14 Serie A0.618/72
12-13 Serie A0.829/119
11-12 Serie A0.722/84

Clocked at a remarkable 3.7 successful dribbles per Serie A game and 118 overall, it becomes clear within five minutes that Cuadrado is the last person you want running at you in space.

He stepped up on the goal front once the Viola's strikers began dropping like flies, bagging 11 in the league for himself, but could also be accused of resorting to underhand tactics to win penalties and free-kicks in promising areas.

In an era of football in which natural width is so hard to come by and every winger wants to cut inside and shoot, Cuadrado stands an attractive option to stretch the pitch, counterattack at pace and air-raid the opponents' penalty box.

He's exactly the sort of player Louis van Gaal could use to restore United's fear factor and a natural, better replacement for the declining Antonio Valencia. 


Stats via WhoScored unless otherwise noted. 


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