Manchester United will reportedly move to secure a bargain deal for Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli, with the player’s contract set to expire at the end of this season.
That means clubs can discuss terms with the player about a potential switch ahead of the 2016-17 season, and according to Spanish outlet Fichajes (h/t Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star), the Red Devils are pondering whether to bring the Algeria international to Old Trafford.
Feghouli has long been a key figure for Los Che since making his first-team breakthrough in 2011 with his exciting and energetic play on the flanks. Here is a look at what he can offer:
With Valencia struggling in La Liga under the tutelage of former Red Devils defender Gary Neville, there will be fresh concerns about the club keeping hold of their prized assets for next season.
And with Feghouli not committing to a new contract, it seems as though the club are to lose one of their best performers for nothing in the months to come.
As noted by Rik Sharma of Bleacher Report on the 26-year-old’s recent return to the team, Valencia don’t look quite the same without him:
Pleased to see Feghouli back for Valencia. Been a big miss— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) January 31, 2016
That could well be to United’s benefit. Bringing the player in for no fee would make this an essentially risk-free move, and given the vibrant attributes Feghouli possesses, he could definitely be an asset to any squad; he’s a player who has looked ready for a step up to an elite European team for a while now, too.
What could prevent a potential pre-contract being struck is the uncertainty of the club’s manager Louis van Gaal.
Although signing a player for free can rarely be a bad thing, with Van Gaal fighting for his job and the spectre of Jose Mourinho looming, per Richard Tanner of the Daily Express, it might not be the best time to snap up players with a view to next season.
Red Devils, Real Madrid Linked with Ricardo Rodriguez
According to German publication Bild (h/t Charlie Phillippe of the Daily Express) Manchester United will have to battle with Real Madrid if they want to sign Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez.
The defender reportedly has a £23 million release clause in his current contract, which would be a price well worth paying for the 23-year-old. Here’s a reminder of why the Switzerland international is so highly rated:
The left-back position has been a cause for concern for United this term, with regular starter Luke Shaw injured in mid-September and ruled out for the rest of the season.
Since then, manager Van Gaal has tried various personnel in the position, with young Cameron Borthwick-Jackson excelling in recent contests.
Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News has been impressed with what he’s seen from the club’s 19-year-old academy graduate so far:
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson's crossing is unbelievable for a 19 year old.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) February 13, 2016
Although Rodriguez is top class and could well be worth the plunge for £23 million, it’d be a shame to see United—so long renowned as a club for giving young players a chance—shunt two bright young English players in Shaw and Borthwick-Jackson down the pecking order.
Do United need to strengthen the left-back position?
Rodriguez has all the attributes to play for a club like United or Madrid, and if there is such a clause in his contract, he will have no shortage of suitors.
However, he must choose any potential move away from Wolfsburg carefully, as he doesn’t want to have his development stunted by sitting on the bench behind a player like Marcelo or Shaw.
Although the position has caused United problems this season, the left-back slot looks to be in great shape moving forward given the aforementioned options. Therefore, a sum like £23 million could be better used to improve different areas of the squad.