That's according to Sky Sports' Guillem Balague, who said the Spanish club will resort to moving on Rodriguez as they will struggle to find a buyer for Cristiano Ronaldo: "Now that it looks like Cristiano cannot find a team to buy him, and Real Madrid cannot find a team to sell Ronaldo to, they have to look for alternatives to finance the new signings they plan to make. So, as a consequence Real Madrid want to sell James."
The Daily Star's Marc Williams reported the Red Devils have been linked with the playmaker as they target a new marquee signing and therefore could complete a deal if Real do decide to sell him on.
United are in desperate need of reinforcements who can improve their play in the final third having scored just 33 Premier League goals this season—the fewest not only in the top eight, but also below 11th-placed Everton and 13th-placed Chelsea.
Rodriguez is one of the most talented attacking midfielders in world football, so he would undoubtedly fit the bill at Old Trafford. Per Squawka Football, Rodriguez has stood out at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining in 2014:
Squawka Football @Squawka
James Rodriguez has been involved in more La Liga goals (37) than any other midfielder since joining Real Madrid. https://t.co/26U0StFXhT2/13/2016, 3:42:45 PM
Indeed, despite struggles with injury this season—which has restricted him to just 19 appearances—the 24-year-old has scored five goals and assisted eight in all competitions.
Rodriguez's outstanding shooting technique makes him a real threat from distance, which he demonstrated in Real's recent win over Athletic Bilbao. Spanish football commentator Eduardo Alvarez opined as much during the game:
Eduardo Alvarez @Alvarez
That is why James starts. No one else in the side hits the ball as well as him from distance, not even the Cardiff Express2/13/2016, 3:38:29 PM
Alvarez also noted the way Rodriguez can make impressive, incisive contributions even when not at his best:
Eduardo Alvarez @Alvarez
As usual, a perfectly mediocre match by James and then a pinpointed pass to Ronaldo that makes me forget the previous 72 minutes2/17/2016, 9:16:23 PM
His creativity and goal threat would see him reinvigorate United's forward line, who could feed off his exceptional vision and passing.
The Red Devils are also reportedly interested in Juventus left-back Alex Sandro. Calciomercato reported United and rivals Manchester City have both had large bids for the Brazilian rejected by the Bianconeri, and Luke Gardener of the Daily Star added both clubs are "expected to make improved offers at the end of the season."
Sandro's electric pace and desire to maraud forward has seen him impress in Turin after arriving last summer, as the following video demonstrates:
As Opta Paolo illustrated in November, the 25-year-old has frequently whipped balls into the box at Juve:
10 - Alex Sandro has made on average a cross every 10 minutes played, record among player with 200+ minutes played in this Serie A. Wing.12/4/2015, 5:25:39 PM
Sandro already has two goals and four assists during his time with the Old Lady, while Squawka noted the full-back has created 30 chances in just 14 Serie A appearances, as well as making 16 tackles and winning 24 of 32 headed duels.
Football writer Adam Digby hailed his partnership with Paul Pogba:
Adam Digby @Adz77
Patrice Evra is a boss but Alex Sandro & Paul Pogba is a ridiculously good combination on the left11/21/2015, 9:25:47 PM
Sandro would make an excellent alternative to Luke Shaw or even play ahead of him on the wing, such is his ability to contribute in the final third.
United lack natural width and Sandro would make an outstanding signing, but after being brought in as a long-term replacement for Patrice Evra and having only joined in the summer, Juve will be firmly unwilling to sell him.