Manchester United linked Cuadrado left out of squad for friendly

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After speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United, Fiorentina have left Juan Cuadrado out of their squad to face Real Madrid this weekend.

United have made an exceptional start to life under new manager Louis van Gaal, as the Red Devils have won all of their pre-season games against the likes of LA Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Valencia ahead of the new Premier League season.

The Dutchman has brought his 3-4-1-2 system to Old Trafford with him after success at the World Cup with the Netherlands this summer, and despite signing Southampton left back Luke Shaw and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, the 63-year-old wants to add more players who can fit his new formation at United.

Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo and Ajax utility man Daley Blind are seen as ideal players for the 3-4-1-2, but the Red Devils still need to find someone who can play at right wing back - or, at least someone better than Rafael, Antonio Valencia or Ashley Young.

That's where Juan Cuadrado comes in. The Colombian international, 26, impressed at the World Cup this summer and whilst many will know him as a flying winger from his time in Italy with Fiorentina, he has played a number of games as a wing back with Fiorentina, Udinese and Lecce.

It's now believed that Cuadrado is United's top target this month, but the Italians are determined to bring in at least £35m if they are to let him go. United have the cash, but are still trying to get the best deal with the transfer deadline drawing ever closer.

However, their pursuit may have been handed a big boost after it was revealed that Fiorentina have left Cuadrado out of their squad to face Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly this weekend.

Italian newspaper Corrierre dello Sport explain that manager Vincenzo Montella is testing out life without him, for a short-term reason. The winger is suspended for the first game of the season against Roma, and Fiorentina supposedly want to get prepared for the big game, for which he will be unavailable. Even so, it is a big step to leave him behind, and causes questions as to whether there is more to it.

Fiorentina have admitted that Cuadrado could be sold at the right price, and the latest developments from Italy may suggest that the winger will be on his way out of the club sooner rather than later; and given the intense speculation in recent weeks, United figure to be at the front of the queue.

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