Marcos Rojo has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his work ethic during training after returning to Manchester United following his loan spell in Argentina, according to sources.
Rojo, along with Roma loanee Chris Smalling, is currently linked to a move away from United, with Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward both open to offers for them, ESPN reported. However, one of them could stay at Old Trafford after United failed to secure a center-back, preferably a left-footed one.
Between the two, Rojo seems to be more determined to join Solskjaer’s squad next season. In fact, the veteran defender impressed the United coach after undertaking “double training sessions” every day since his return, sources told ESPN.
It is yet to be confirmed whether Rojo, whose contract with United ends June 2021, would like to prolong his ties with the English club or start a new campaign with other teams.
However, Rojo, Smalling and other “fringe” players United is looking to offload — Phil Jones, Andreas Pereira and Sergio Romero — may need to accept lower salaries if they do end up deciding to leave the club. They could also negotiate deals that would see United being compensated for the years they have left on their contracts.
United may need the funds the moves for these players would get the club. Compared to other top Premier League clubs, United has not been able to land an expensive signing this summer.
Donny van de Beek is the club’s biggest signing so far this transfer window, with a fee of around €40 million ($48 million).
In August, Rojo announced his return to United after his loan spell with his first club, Estudiantes, ended in June. He spent the second half of last season on loan back at Estudiantes but didn’t manage to excel for the Argentine side.
Rojo was then linked to a move to Serie A club Lazio after reports claimed that he is not included in Solskjaer’s new plans for United.
Unlike Rojo, Smalling’s future is already being drawn up. He has been chased by AS Roma after an impressive loan spell with the Serie A side, with the club hoping to use the funds from Patrik Schick’s exit to sign Smalling for another loan season.
Now, the 30-year-old is nearing a return to Italy after a fee of €26.5 million ($31 million) was agreed upon by Roma and Bayer Leverkusen for Schick’s transfer, freeing the Italian side up to make another push for Smalling.
Meanwhile, United could also add more highly-rated defenders before the window expires. The club is linked to two La Liga stars, Sergio Reguilon of Real Madrid and Jose Gimenez of Atletico Madrid, amid the progressing transfer move of Porto’s Alex Telles to Old Trafford.