24 key passes, 32 dribbles: Stats show Serie A star is a must-buy for Manchester United

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Amid reports linking Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado with a move to Manchester United, we assess his suitability to the club's current requirements.

Manchester United target Juan Cuadrado is reportedly unhappy at Fiorentina and wants to force a move away, according to the Daily Star.

Cuadrado has allegedly been on the radar of a number of elite clubs for some time now after a series of impressive performances in Serie A and over the summer, while with Colombia at the World Cup, he was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford. 

The Colombian winger is reportedly unhappy at the Serie A club and following summer interest from the likes of the Red Devils, Louis van Gaal is finally ready to offer him an escape route.

He has made 12 appearances in Serie A this term, and a further five in the Europa League, during which he has featured in five varying roles. He has featured most often in central-attacking midfield, while occupying roles as a forward on either flank, as an outright striker, and once at right-back. This versatility is one of many factors that makes him such an attractive signing.

Of Louis van Gaal's current squad, comparisons will most likely be made between Cuadrado and 29-year-old winger-turned-full-back Antonio Valencia. It's no secret the Red Devils head coach is in the market for a winger (preferably a wing-back), and should he opt for the Colombian international, this is the role he is most likely to fulfill - providing direct competition for United's 2011/12 Players' Player of the Year. 

  Key Passes/ AppShots/ AppDribbles/ AppPass Acc (%)Tackles/ AppIntercept/ AppBlock/ AppClear/ AppAppsMins
Antonio Valencia 0.58 0.08 1.08 89 2.92 1.75 0.17 1.92 12 912
Juan Cuadrado 1.75 2.58 2.67 85 0.83 1.33 0.09 0.42 12 1002

The Opta statistics highlight a number of interesting differences between the two players. It's difficult to conduct a completely representative comparison between the pair, mainly due to the position each has occupied throughout the current season, but also as a consequence of the differing nature and difficulties of the countries in which they play.

Cuadrado - the more attacking of the duo - has fashioned significantly more key passes, shots and take-ons per game. As is therefore expected, he has seen far greater success in terms of an end product. Already he has recorded three goals and three assists, compared to the single assist managed by Valencia.

The United man has had his playing time split between a more advanced wing-role and right-back this term, but for the most part, Valencia has been focused on his defensive duties. Consequently, the statistics see him emerge superior in a number of statistics - common traits of those who play at the back - although the disparities here are far less extreme.

The Ecuadorian has made more interceptions, blocks, clearances and tackles per match, but unlike the reverse situation with the attacking qualities, he does not boast a considerable advantage.

Ultimately, the statistics suggest that Cuadrado is the more 'rounded' option - able to more successfully balance the fulfillment of his defensive duties with his exploits in attack - and as his performances in recent years have shown, this is typically the case. 

While Valencia has improved under Louis van Gaal this season, he cannot be considered the long-term solution to Manchester United's requirements on the right-flank. Whereas, Juan Cuadrado, at 26 years of age, would represent a fantastic coup. 

As it stands, United will want the Colombian's price-tag - currently upwards of £30million - to be dropped, but if they are able to land his services for even a fraction of the price, this would have to be considered good business.  

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