Porto sensation James Rodriguez has quickly become one of the hottest names on the transfer market, with Manchester United leading the charge to land him. The Red Devils will have to fend off interest from other top teams, however.
Bayern Munich are another team likely to have interest in the 20-year-old Colombian international, according to John Cross of the Daily Mirror. He also reports the asking price will be around £25 million by Porto.
With Nani's future at Old Trafford uncertain, it's a move that would give manager Sir Alex Ferguson a lot more flexibility. Nani has been a key piece of the Red Devils in recent years, but he's far from irreplaceable, and Rodriguez has the upside to fill his role.
Rodriguez's career has really taken off since joining Porto, so it's not a surprise to see some of the top clubs in Europe at least giving him a look. He scored 13 goals for the Portistas this past season and continues to look like a future superstar.
While his goal-scoring ability is what caught everybody's eye, he's also a good playmaker on the wing. In a couple more years, he's going to become a nightmare matchup for defenders because there aren't many things he can't do.
He also fits the mold of United's moves in recent years. Ferguson has been focusing on young players who haven't reached their peak. It not only allows the Red Devils to save money on high-profile transfers, but it also gives the entire team a chance to grow together.
After losing out on another championship by a single point, it's clear the veteran boss has decided to be a little more aggressive this offseason. He's already brought in Shinji Kagawa to bolster the team's offensive depth.
Rodriguez won't be able to play at Nani's level immediately. He's still developing, and moving to the Premier League would be another hurdle he needs to jump over, but there are rarely surefire transfer moves available. There's always some type of risk involved.
Taking a chance on Rodriguez, who has already shown plenty of potential, is better than going after an established veteran nearing the end of his time. Stopgap measures have a much higher risk of turning into a financial disaster.
With Ferguson making a concerted effort to avoid those types of deals, Rodriguez makes perfect sense. He still won't come cheap by any means, but at least his best years are still ahead of him.
Although other teams are likely to make their best efforts to thwart United's plans, Ferguson should make his best effort to bring Rodriguez aboard. It would be a terrific move.