Manchester United seal £16m deal for Rojo as Nani departs
Manchester United have eased their transfer frustration by agreeing a £16 million deal for the Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo.
United confirmed that a fee had been agreed with Sporting Lisbon pending a medical and personal terms, with the 24-year-old heading to England in the next 24 hours to conclude the formalities.
The agreement means United have spent £46m on two left-backs this summer, with Luke Shaw arriving from Southampton for a record £30m for a teenager.
Sporting Lisbon announced the departure of their defender via their social media, although Rojo had earlier effectively confirmed that he was joining United in an interview with Argentine media. United were prompted to make an announcement of their own, clarifying that the player had yet to put pen to paper, but it is clear his arrival is imminent.
"Manchester United has reached agreement with Sporting Lisbon to sign Marcos Rojo subject to a medical and personal terms," the United statement read.
"A further announcement will be made when the process is complete."
As part of the deal, winger Nani is poised to return to Portugal, joining Lisbon on a season-long loan.
The transfer brings a conclusion to what threatened to become an unseemly saga when Sporting Lisbon, Rojo's representatives and third party owners became involved in a public dispute over who controlled the player's future.
Lisbon accused Doyen Sports of negotiating with United without permission, an allegation which was disputed, and terminated their relationship with the investment group.
Fortunately for United, the argument did not unduly prevent further negotiations. In a display of transparency so often lacking with high-profile transfers, Sporting offered a thorough
breakdown of the deal, stating that they will receive £8m immediately and a further two installments of £4m on December 1 this year and July 1, 2015.
Sporting owe around £2m to Rojo's former club Spartak Moscow, but have secured a clause in the United deal by which they will receive 20 per cent of any sell-on United receive exceeding £18m.
Van Gaal is also trailing Angel di Maria, although United appear to face rival bids from Champions League clubs, most notably Paris St-Germain, who have the financial muscle to match any United offer.
The French side believe that they are in pole position to sign the winger with a deal that would eventually be worth £52m after an initial season-long loan.
Di Maria was included in the Real squad for their Spanish Super Cup meeting with Atletico Madrid last night.
Rojo, at least, is United-bound. "It's a dream to play at Manchester United and I am very proud of having the chance of working with Van Gaal," Rojo said.
"I have always liked English football, and I should adapt to this new playing style easily."
A left-sided defender who has played predominantly at left-back, Rojo's arrival means that Van Gaal has plenty of options there at least, although the Argentine could also be deployed as centre-half in the 3-5-2 system.
It does raise the issue of what the immediate future holds for Shaw, however.
The England international was wanted by every leading Premier League club when he left Southampton - United outbidding everyone - but within weeks of moving to Old Trafford he was criticised for his lack of fitness by Van Gaal.
The 19-year-old then sustained a hamstring injury in training a week before the start of the season, for which the manager listed multiple causes, including the physical condition of the player on his return to pre-season training. (© Daily Telegraph, London)