English leagueWednesday, August 13, 2014
Manchester United close to signing Marcos Rojo
MANCHESTER — Manchester United are on the verge of signing Marcos Rojo for £16 million (nearly US$ 27 million) after the Argentina defender handed in a transfer request at Sporting Lisbon, Daily Mail reported yesterday.
Louis van Gaal has been scouring the market for someone to play left-back or central defence after missing out on Thomas Vermaelen, and the Dutchman has decided that Rojo fits the bill.
United have tabled an offer and the 24-year-old has attempted to force the move through by demanding to leave Sporting. It is also understood that he refused to train with his teammates yesterday.
Chelsea and Southampton have also been heavily linked with Rojo in recent weeks but he has made it clear that he wants to move to Old Trafford.
The former Estudiantes and Spartak Moscow defender made six appearances for World Cup finalists Argentina in Brazil, and was voted onto the team of the tournament.
United are also believed to have revived their interest in his Argentina teammate Ángel di María, who is for sale at Real Madrid, and Ajax’s Daley Blind.
Manchester United named Wayne Rooney as its new captain yesterday shortly after the team beat Valencia 2-1 in manager Van Gaal’s first home game in charge of the English Premier League club.
Rooney will wear the armband in United’s season opener against Swansea City with Darren Fletcher named the vice-captain. The striker takes over the captaincy from Nemanja Vidic who joined Italian club Inter Milan in the offseason.
Substitute Marouane Fellaini scored in second-half stoppage time in United’s final warm-up game ahead of the start of the new season.
Van Gaal, who signed a three-year contract to succeed David Moyes at Old Trafford, had enjoyed a strong pre-season winning all five of the club’s matches on their tour of the United States.
Despite the late victory, van Gaal was critical of his team ahead of the start of the season.
However he was quick to praise the home crowd after walking out at Old Trafford for the first time.
Wayne Rooney spurned the chance to give the hosts a first-half lead, when his penalty was saved by goalkeeper Diego Alves in the 32nd minute. Rooney had seconds earlier been felled in the penalty area by defender Antonio Barragan.
United broke the deadlock shortly after the restart when Darren Fletcher slotted home from the edge of the area. Ashley Young’s 49th minute corner eventually fell into his path and the Scottish international netted albeit with the aid of a deflection.
Valencia almost equalized in the 65th minute when Rodrigo’s goalbound header was flicked off the line by Javier Hernandez.
The visitors were undeterred, and continued to press forward in search of a goal. They were deservedly rewarded in the 71st when Rodrigo blazed a first-time volley into the roof of the net following a free-kick.
Moments later, substitute Pablo Piatti poked a shot wide from close range. After being picked out by Jose Gaya on the left wing, he slid his attempt past David De Gea’s right-hand post and the La Liga side were left to rue that miss when Fellaini struck late on.
Herald staff with AP