As teams around Europe are preparing for the upcoming season to begin in a couple of weeks, Barcelona are still looking quality players that will fit new manager Luis Enrique’s preferred system. Fiorentina’s utility man Juan Cuadrado has been heavily linked with the Catalan-based club all summer and as the transfer deadline draws closer, the Blaugrana will look to sign the 26-year-old.
The Colombian international might’ve been in James Rodriguez’s shadows during the World Cup but he had plenty to do with the Real Madrid man’s success. Rodriguez won the golden boot in Brazil for scoring six goals, three of them were off Cuadrado assists. Germany’s Toni Kroos tied with La Vespa with four assists to lead the tournament but Kroos played in two more games.
“At this moment I really think he is the top player in his role. He plays with brilliance, speed and intelligence. He is an old-fashioned winger, always unpredictable with the beating of his man. He reminds me a bit of Roberto Donadoni during his time at AC Milan: a winger who always knew how to help his team by switching on the turbo on the flank. He is electric but has so much strength in his muscles. The Colombian really is unique,” said former Italian international Alessio Tacchinardi to Goal.com
For Colombia in the World Cup, Cuadrado played mostly as a right attacking midfielder and right winger taking on defenders and using his pace and incredible dribbling ability to create chances. In Italy though for the Viola he was used all over the pitch as an inverted left winger, right wing-back, a playmaker in the number 10 role and in the midfield. The Necocli native was taught multiple positions coming up in his youth career due to his technical ability and it’s paid off due him literally being capable of playing anywhere and making a positive impact for his team. Last season for Fiorentina, Cuadrado had 11 goals and five assists in 32 league appearances and averaged nearly four dribbles a game, which led Serie A.
At Barcelona, reports are that the four-time European Cup winners are looking at Cuadrado looked to be the successor of Daniel Alves at the right-back position. Alves is not worried by the transfer rumors and plans to fight to maintain in position in the starting lineup for the 22-time La Liga champions.
“If they can recruit him, then I encourage them to do it. It doesn’t bother me. On the contrary, he is an excellent player, young, has had excellent performances with his club and with the Colombian side. You see that your club seeks quality to be able to complete. For me it’s a motivation,” said Alves during a World Cup press conference.