The true consequences of not qualifying for the Champions League when Manchester United’s season finally ends on Tuesday night could become clearer over the summer transfer window.
Though at times slightly too much significance can be placed on what missing out on the competition for one year can do to a club’s transfer clout (e.g. they signed Ángel Di María in 2014 despite not being able to offer European football of any kind), the fact that Man United wil not have made the top four twice in the past three years will certainly make their more illustrious targets think twice about a move to Old Trafford.
Despite reports at the weekend stating that Real Madrid have offered James Rodríguez to Man United for a fee in the region of £60m, Spanish daily publication AS are today alleging that Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are ready to swoop in and steal the Colombian playmaker from right under their noses.
The report claims that PSG are keen to bring the former Monaco star back to France, and an €80m bid (which could potentially rise to €100m with bonuses and add-ons) is in the works. Real were looking to sell for the same price they paid Monaco for him in 2014, so the potential for a bidding war would surely appeal massively to the Champions League finalists.
With Zlatan Ibrahimović leaving the PSG, a shake-up of Laurent Blanc’s starting eleven is in order – which could in turn see Uruguayan international Edinson Cavani moved centrally (or sold), freeing up space behind him. In fact, the report goes on to state that James would be afforded the same superstar status that Zlatan has enjoyed for the last four years were he to move to the French capital.
The key player in all of this is Rodríguez’s agent, Jorge Mendes. While he enjoys a good relationship with Manchester United (which would be enhanced even further if José Mourinho were to arrive at Old Trafford), he is also a friend of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
A stumbling block to any potential deal would be that Florentino Pérez likes the player – however, he has fallen out of favour with manager Zinedine Zidane, and with rumours of his poor attitude to training surfacing now and again, the boss may decide to sell and free up funds and a squad place for new signings.
Much will depend on James’s feelings on the matter – if he truly wants to leave, Real are unlikely to stand in his way. Where he will eventually end up, however, remains to be seen as a number of clubs are apparently mointoring the situation.
James Rodriguez is suddenly Europe’s most wanted man, say AS. Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern, PSG. https://t.co/8ZnD17ZChW
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) May 17, 2016
Though Manchester United cannot be discounted just yet, the pull of Paris and guaranteed Champions League football every year may yet prove decisive.