United had their chance to sign James Rodriguez but that ship has sailed

James Rodriguez playing for Columbia

Manchester United may still be linked with James Rodriguez, but that chance has long gone.

Following his outstanding World Cup campaign – and continuing presence in the competition – James Rodriguez has been linked with a whole host of clubs both in England and elsewhere, including long-term suitors Manchester United.

But even without the player’s recent quotes suggesting he would like to play in Spain in the future, United fans would be wise to forget about signing the 22-year-old. In short, they had their chance and it is long gone.

During Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge, United were regularly linked with a move for the winger, who was impressing for Portuguese club FC Porto.

At the time, talk was of a player in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo, a wide man with pace, creativity and an eye for goal – things he has shown in abundance this summer.

Reports even claimed Ferguson was considering a bid for a player with a £36million release-clause and planned to throw in Anderson in part-exchange.

Those claims came in March 2012, but two months later, Monaco forked out a reported £38.5million to bring the player to Ligue 1 in a double-deal that also saw Joao Moutinho head to the principality.

Rodriguez went on to star for Monaco last season, scoring 10 goals and setting up 14 more. But nothing prepared us for the sizzling form he was destined to show on football’s biggest stage, with five goals already scored as he inspired Colombia to a quarter-final place.

In light of such form it is no surprise that United find themselves linked once more. But considering the fee Monaco paid, his importance to the team and his ability to become even better, the French side will not sell unless they receive an offer that really is too good to refuse (which considering the money at their disposal will be sizeable).

United should have paid big two summers ago. In hindsight, it would have been well worth it.

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