LONDON: Manchester United have made Argentina defender Marcos Rojo their first ‘real’ signing since Louis Van Gaal arrived in late July to take over the reins as manager.
Rojo may even face Sunderland on Sunday if international clearance arrives in time from Sporting Clube of Lisbon who have taken Portuguese winger Nani on loan for the season as part of the £16m deal.
The one complication in the deal has been unravelling Rojo’s complicated contractual situation involving Doyen Sports Investment since third-party ownership is banned by the Premier League.
His arrival takes United’s summer spending to £89m after the pre-Van Gaal purchases of teenage England leftback Luke Shaw from Southampton and Spanish under-21 midfielder Ander Herrera from Bilbao. Both Shaw and Herrera had already been targeted by Van Gaal’s luckless predecessor David Moyes.
Van Gaal had picked out 24-year-old Rojo as the best available candidate to play on the left-hand side of a three-man central defence. This was a sector of the team made to look threadbare by the need to throw youth product Tyler Blackett into action in last Saturday’s 2:1 home defeat by Swansea.
However, Shaw’s current injury absence may mean Rojo making a start as left wingback, the role he took up for Argentina in their run to the World Cup Final in Brazil.
Rojo, interviewed by an Argentinian radio station, said: “It’s a dream to play at United and I am very proud of having the chance of working with Van Gaal.
“I spoke with Juan Sebastián Verón 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 have also been linked with a bid for Real Madrid’s Ángel Di Maria though Paris Saint-Germain appear to be favourites.