Manchester United transfer rumours and news: Record '£60m James Rodriguez bid', Aleksandar Dragovic move in doubt

James Rodriguez could be the subject of a club record bid from United after being named on the bench for Zinedine Zidane's first game as manager

Jack de Menezes
Saturday 16 January 2016 11:33 GMT
(Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


In what would be an hugely audacious move, Manchester United are being linked with a huge £60m offer for Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, with his place in Zinedine Zidane’s first team in jeopardy following the 5-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna last weekend.

With Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale Zidane’s preferred attacking trio, Zidane looks unlikely to select Rodriguez if he has all of his options available, given that Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco started the new head coach’s first game in charge since he replaced Rafa Benitez.

According to The Sun, United could try to capitalise by launching a new club-record transfer bid for the Colombian, although Real would likely be hugely reluctant to let a first-team squad member leave given the transfer ban they were handed by Fifa this week that will prevent them from registering any new signings made in the summer or January 2017.

United are believed to be leading the race for Sporting Lisbon’s Algerian striker Islam Slimani, with the 27-year-old set to cost the Old Trafford club around £12m should they launch a January move.

United manager Louis van Gaal has made it no secret that he wants to strengthen his squad during the current transfer window in a bid to boost their chances of securing a Champions League-qualifying top-four finish. With reported moves for the likes of Gareth Bale and Thomas Muller currently off the table, the Premier League club are weighing up their options.

That has led The Sun to report that a move for Slimani could be in the pipeline, with the forward continuing the impressive form he displayed at the 2014 World Cup, having notched 13 goals in 16 appearances this season. United are not the only Premier League club believed to be keen on Slimani, with surprise title challengers Leicester City and West Ham also said to be monitoring his future closely.

United are also being linked with a move for Dynamo Kiev defender Aleksandar Dragovic, with the 24-year-old Austria international reported to have been the subject of a £16m offer.

Italian news outlet Sport Mediaset claim that United have made their move for the centre-back, who impressed in the two Champions League encounters with Chelsea in which he scored in the Stamford Bridge visit. United have struggled with injuries to their defence this season, although when fit both Chris Smalling and Daley Blind have impressed in what has been a largely forgettable season for Van Gaal’s side so far.

January Transfer window - completed deals

However, Kiev manager Sergei Rebrov has cast doubt over any move in January, with Dragovic said to be focusing on the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester City.

“Is Dragovic going to Manchester United? I doubt Dragovic reads those stories or that he gives any meaning to all that is written about him,” Rebrov said.

“I talk with Alex a lot. He is an absolutely decent man. Now he has a goal, he wants to play in the Champions League playoffs [against Manchester City] for this team.

“After that? Only God knows."

Finally, Van Gaal has backed goalkeeper David De Gea to remain at United following Fifa’s decision to give Real a transfer ban for breaching regulations over the transfer and registration of youth players. With the La Liga side allowed to sign players this month before the ban kicks in at the end of the season, reports suggested that they could resume their bid to sign De Gea before the 1 February deadline.

Real were expected to make a summer move for De Gea, though that now appears to be out of the question pending Real’s appeal. However, Van Gaal has stressed that the Spanish No 1 will remain focused on the job at hand at Old Trafford and will not be leaving the club before the January transfer window closes.

"I don't think that is the kind of thing that plays on the mind of David De Gea,” Van Gaal said on Firday.

"I never thought about it in the period before the transfer window and now I am seeing David De Gea who is enjoying to stay here and play good games."

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