Manchester United's hopes of signing Juan Cuadrado have received a double boost after Fiorentina left him out of their friendly against Real Madrid on Saturday – while main rivals Barcelona appear close to securing Brazilian Douglas Pereira dos Santos as an alternative.
Following the arrivals of both Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera, new United boss Louis van Gaal recently suggested his intention to sign a winger this summer with Cuadrado and Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria topping his wish-list.
"At this moment, we have five No 9s and four No 10s – and we don't have wingers to give us attacking width, or, I should say, we don't have wingers of the highest level, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Angel] Di Maria or somebody like that," Van Gaal said.
Cuadrado would indeed fit seamlessly into his 3-4-1-2 formation playing on the right flank, as he can operate both as a winger and a right-back.
Barcelona had reportedly earmarked him as the perfect replacement for Brazilian star Dani Alves but recent reports in Spain claim the Catalans had given up on the Colombian international as they were unlikely to afford Fiorentina's £32m demands.
And while earlier this week Spanish newspaper Sport revealed the club had already identified Douglas as a cheaper alternative, now São Paulo president Carlos Miguel Aidar has confirmed they are in advanced negotiations with the Catalans for the Brazilian right-back.
"Barca want to sell Dani Alves and are looking for a replacement for him, who would be Douglas. The sale isn't completed because we still have to talk and the economics involved in the operation are the Traffic group [who own 40% of Douglas' rights], Juan Figger [an intermediary], São Paulo and Barca," he was quoted as saying by Sport.
"He's doing everything and things are progressing well. We haven't spoken directly to Barca but we are aware of their interest, so are the agents, Traffic. I guess they have already spoken to the player."
Meanwhile Fiorentina themselves have added fuel to the speculations about Cuadrado moving away by leaving him out of the squad to face Real Madrid.
Nevertheless, club owner Andrea Della Valle already admitted last week Cuadrado is likely to leave the Serie A while they are open to negotiate a deal should any club meet their demands.
"If an important offer were to come in we would have to let him go. The boy is honest and serious and if the offer comes in we'll let him go. However, I have reiterated that he could stay another year. The chances of him staying? I do not know the percentages but it will be difficult to keep him.
"Offers will come in next week. The negotiations will be done very openly, we will not hide anything", he said.