Pitchside

Should Cuadrado snub Chelsea and move to Manchester United?

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Juan Cuadrado (ES)

Our friends at Squawka.com take a look at Juan Cuadrado, who has been linked with a move from Fiorentina to Manchester United or Chelsea.

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Juan Cuadrado hit a streak of hugely impressive form for Colombia at the World Cup, sparking reports of a move from Fiorentina to Manchester United, and reports now suggest that Chelsea have entered the fray as well.

Such reports are always worth taking with a pinch of salt, but assuming the 26-year-old does indeed have his pick of those two clubs, where should he go? With the Blues widely tipped as title favourites alongside current champions Manchester City, would a move to Stamford Bridge prove more appealing than one to join Louis van Gaal's work in progress?

If the move to Chelsea really is on, then Cuadrado could do worse than exchange a few words with his likely replacement at Fiorentina, Marko Marin. The Bosnian is one of many victims of Chelsea's glut of wingers in recent seasons, and seems set to be moving to Italy on a season-long loan deal having seen his first team chances become even more remote under Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho's squad has an embarrassment of riches in attacking midfield, making it difficult to see where Cuadrado would even fit. A nice luxury for Mourinho, but perhaps not for the Colombian. If he were to move to Chelsea, then Cuadrado would be competing for a right-wing space with Willian, Mohamed Salah - himself in danger of fading into the background in spite of his recent arrival - and Andre Schuerrle.

There might also be Oscar. If Mourinho decides to use new signing Cesc Fabregas as part of a central midfield trio, Oscar could also be pushed wide and competing with the wingers. Hardly an enticing prospect for any new arrival.

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Cuadrado would likely need time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and with Chelsea, that time may not be forthcoming. Both Oscar and Willian created more chances per 90 minutes last season than Cuadrado, with Schuerrle close behind, while Cuadrado's goalscoring record was bettered by Schuerrle. A star player for club and country at the moment, he would face a danger of becoming a bit-part man at Chelsea.

Move to Manchester United and he would have no such competition. Van Gaal is believed to have sought him out in order to play the wing-back role in his 3-5-2 formation, and he would be able to guarantee the winger time on the pitch.

That role seems tailor made for Cuadrado, who has featured in every position going on the right-hand side while at Fiorentina. The 26-year-old has played as a winger, right-back and wing-back in Italy, making him a perfect fit for Van Gaal's demands.

The heat below shows the Colombia international's touches from the March win over Chievo in which he played as a wing-back, making four interceptions and also providing four crosses and completing three take-ons.

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Antonio Valencia has so far proven solid enough in pre-season, but Cuadrado would be both an upgrade and competition. He created more chances, scored more goals and completed more take-ons per 90 minutes than Valencia last season, although was pipped by the Ecuadorian in terms of tackles.

Having shown his attacking abilities at the World Cup and the flexibility to fit into Van Gaal's system while in Italy, Cuadrado and United seem beautifully matched. If an offer from Chelsea materialises it would give him a better chance of being in a winning team, since United under Van Gaal still an unknown quantity.

But is a shiny new winners' medal really worth it if you've won it spending most of the season warming the bench? That could be the decision that Cuadrado has to make over the next week or two.

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