Premier League - Rojo confirms 'dream' move, but are United buying 'a nutcase'?

In-depth: Argentina defender Marcos Rojo has told a radio station that his move to Manchester United is imminent, describing it as a 'dream' to play for the Old Trafford club.

Premier League - Rojo confirms 'dream' move, but are United buying 'a nutcase'?

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Marcos Rojo

The Sporting Lisbon player has emerged as a key target for United manager Louis van Gaal, with reports suggesting United will pay £16 million for Rojo while sending Portuguese winger Nani back to his former club on a one-year loan as part of the deal.

Rojo was a key member of the Argentina side that made it to the World Cup final, playing as a left-back in what was commonly hailed as the finest defensive unit at the tournament.

In an interview with the radio station Continental in his homeland, Rojo said: "It's a dream to play at Manchester United and I am very proud of having the chance of working with [Louis] van Gaal.

"I spoke with Juan Sebastian Veron about Manchester United when we were at Estudiantes. I have always liked English football, and I should adapt to this new playing style easily."

United's move for Rojo has been complicated by a row between Sporting and his a third-party ownership group, while the 24-year-old player upset his employers by initially refusing to train in a bid to push through the deal, although he later apologised and returned to work.

"There was a misunderstanding, I never wanted to do something wrong at Sporting as I have always been very thankful to that team that gave me many chances for playing in Europe," Rojo said.

"If I made a mistake, I have already apologised because I didn't want to hurt the feelings of anyone at the club."


Assuming that Ed Woodward doesn't find a way to drop the ball - admittedly, quite a big assumption - then Rojo's capture marks a major coup for United, who were in desperate need of a top-quality left-back after Patrice Evra's exit this summer. And in terms of defensive solidity they don't come any better: Argentina were supposed to go deep into the World Cup thanks to their devastating attacking potential, but it was actually their fantastically parsimonious back four which took them to the final. Rojo is capable of playing either as a centre-back or as a wing-back - and as such will be the perfect man to take the left-hand slot of a back-three under Louis van Gaal's 3-5-2 system.


Sporting Lisbon fans have been dishing the dirt on Rojo for the benefit of a United fans' forum. If what they say is accurate then two things seem clear: he is still not quite the finished article, but Van Gaal is as good a man as any to turn a hugely talented player into one of the world's best defenders. Here's what they had to say:

"Sporting fans have a love/hate relationship with Rojo... He's a very physical player. He's pacy and a very good man marker... He has performed way better as a centre-back rather than as a left-back at Sporting. He can be an absolute beast and dominate games in a flawless way. But then there's the inconsistency. He is very prone to positional errors and concentration lapses. He is also a complete nutcase. He's been sent off so many times in very stupid fashion... It's always the same thing with Rojo. He gets sent off and costs us a game and he starts getting booed and people in the stands say that we are better off selling him. But then he comes back and plays spectacularly again... The key issue is that he needs a mentally strong and disciplinarian manager."

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Papers Marcos Rojo


Given the third party ownership element in the deal, it's probably safe to say that Rojo's confirmation will take a week or so: the lawyers will need some time to sort out all the paperwork with the league, and turn a verbal agreement into an official unveiling. But such is United's need for further reinforcements - particularly if Van Gaal is to get his preferred 3-5-2 system working properly - that United will have to act to secure further signings before the ink is dry on Rojo's contract. Daley Blind, as a left-sided midfielder-cum-wing-back, is the obvious next target - and the ideal man to play ahead of Rojo on the Red Devils' left flank.


Possibly the best news of all for United fans is that Rojo has now strongly hinted that his Argentina team-mate Angel di Maria will be joining him in making the move to Manchester United. Infamously, Rojo 'liked' a social picture of himself Photoshopped into a Manchester United shirt last week; and now he has 'liked' a different picture showing himself and Di Maria together in front of a United logo:

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Instagram: Rojo and Di Maria and Man United

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