Marcos Rojo profile: Who is the £16m Manchester United signing?

A closer look at the defender who has arrived from Sporting Lisbon

Luke Shaw could be forgiven for feeling a mild sense of puzzlement following the arrival of Marcos Rojo.

That’s because Manchester United's third signing of the summer, who arrives as part of a deal seeing Luis Nani head on loan in the opposite direction, plays in Shaw’s position.

Rojo, a physically-imposing left-sided defender, played every second of Argentina’s nerve-shredding World Cup final defeat to Germany and went on to be named in the team of the tournament for Brazil 2014.

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The now former Sporting Lisbon man is a natural left-back by trade but is almost as adept as a left-sided centre back. He can also be deployed further up the pitch as a winger – perhaps somewhere in between the three is in Louis van Gaal’s line of thinking, with the Dutchman known to be searching for wing-backs for his preferred 3-5-2 formation.

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The purported £16m fee is something of a surprise not because the 24-year-old Rojo is not any good. Rather, the size of the fee is puzzling because United have already laid out £30m this summer to make Luke Shaw the world’s most expensive teenager. Presumably Shaw has not been purchased to play a backup role – yet the reported price for Rojo is no snip, especially given that Van Gaal has other areas of more pressing need.

Van Gaal would still like to move for Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria and needs at least one more midfielder.

Statistically, however, Rojo is impressive and may well be worth his fee. At the recently-concluded World Cup he made 15 interceptions, won 17 tackles and completed 191 passes as part of a defensively-solid Argentina back line.

Rojo moved to Lisbon for £3.5m in July 2012 – the Portuguese club, then, stand to make a healthy profit on a player who came to them following a disappointing spell in Russia at Spartak Moscow.

 

For his performances under Alejandro Sabella in Brazil, Rojo was named in the Castrol Index team of the tournament – an honour not even his vastly more illustrious teammate Lionel Messi could achieve.

But the real question on Manchester United lips must be, do the club really need another pricey left-back – no matter his undoubted qualities?

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