Manchester United have completed the signing of Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon. The 24-year-old, who played for Argentina at the World Cup this summer, has joined the Red Devils for £16million.
Speaking to the media, Rojo said: “I am young and am very keen to continue to learn the game, so playing for such an experienced technical coach as Louis van Gaal is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have joined United to work hard with my team-mates to win trophies and I know that the manager shares that ambition.”
Rojo’s arrival in Manchester has been a long one. After a successful time in his native Argentina with Estudiantes, he moved to Spartak Moscow where he failed to settle in, making just eight appearances during his time with the club. A move to Sporting Lisbon revived his career as he made 49 appearances for the Portuguese club.
His international career has never been a real stumbling block – despite his failings in Russia he has earned 28 caps for his country, includes games in the 2011 Copa America and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He also scored his first goal in national team colors at the World Cup when he found the net in Argentina’s win over Nigeria in the Group Stages.
One of the biggest benefits of Rojo’s move is his ability to play anywhere across the back four. He can operate comfortably at full-back as he displayed at the World Cup and he can also slot well in his natural center-back position.
The arrival of the Argentine gives Van Gaal the option to switch from a three-man back line to a four with ease given his abilities to both attack and defend. It will be interesting to see whether he can play on his natural side considering Luke Shaw is still first choice there. The England international will have to work hard if he is to keep his place in the team ahead of Rojo.
He can always play at right-back, but Rojo is certainly more gifted at getting forward, in comparison to Phil Jones, who was playing there last week. The 24-year-old is also an upgrade on Rafael, who has been in the side due to the lack of a real challenger at the club.
“He has ability, physical strength and a willingness to learn that means he has a very bright future ahead of him. He had a very strong World Cup and has been playing in Europe for a couple of years now. He is a very good addition to the team,” Van Gaal said of Rojo.
If this signing proves anything, it is that Manchester United still have the pull factor, having managed to sign a marquee player despite not playing in the Champions League this season.