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Manchester United were offered Colombia's James Rodriguez for £5 million; signed Bebe for £7.4m instead

Vikesh Shet
8.26K   //    30 Jun 2014, 13:32 IST
Colombia’s James Rodriguez is the leading goal scorer at the World Cup so far.

James Rodriguez, the Colombian playmaker who is in red hot form this World Cup 2014 scoring 5 goals in 4 matches was once offered to Manchester United for just £5 million. But they bought Portugal’s Bebe instead for £7.4 million, not truly discovering Rodriguez's obvious talent.

Manchester United was first in contact with Rodriguez’s agent in 2010 when Javier Hernandez’s transfer from Guadalajara was in progress. James was then playing for Argentinian club Atletico Banfield, had made his debut at the age of 17 and become the youngest foreigner to play in the Argentinian top flight. He had helped the club to their first league championship in 2009 with manager Julio Falcioni convinced James would excel in Europe.

The Red Devils who have a permanent scout in South America, who helped them get Diego Forlan and Antonio Valencia. They were in prime position to recruit the teenager but United did not respond to Rodriguez’s agent who wanted to bring him to Europe. A few weeks later, United spent £7.4 million on Bebe who had just signed for Portuguese club Victoria Guimaraes.

Rodriguez was signed by Porto and he played a crucial role in their domestic double and Europa League triumph under Andre Villas-Boas. United and Chelsea renewed their interest in Rodriguez in the 2013 winter transfer window but he was signed by cash rich AS Monaco for £38.5 million after his stock had increased considerably.

The Colombian’s agent Aytekin Erayabakan is braced for a busy summer after Rodriguez’s eye catching performances saying: “There are several European clubs after him, so let’s see what the future holds.

“His price has no doubt increased after the way he has played in these last few months.”

Uruguay lost to Colombia thanks to Rodriguez’s brace and their coach Oscar Tabarez compared him to Argentina legend Diego Mardona, Lionel Messi and Uruguay’s own Luis Suarez.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has a tough job in his hands to curb the looming threat of Rodriguez when they meet Colombia in the quarter-finals of the tournament.