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United could have had Rodriguez for £5m
Manchester United could have signed World Cup sensation James Rodriguez for as little as £5 million when he was a teenager, it has been claimed.
The striker, who has scored five goals in four games to fire Colombia into their first ever World Cup quarter-final, was offered to the club four years ago when he played for Club Atletico Banfield in Argentina, but the player's agents reportedly received no response.
A few weeks later United bought flop Bebe instead, The Guardian reports, and interest from them in Rodriguez last year faded because, despite being said to be ready to pay up to £25m, the release clause he had in his contract at Porto was higher.
Rodriguez, 22, now plays for Monaco and is said to have tempted both Chelsea and Tottenham over the last few years. He cost the French club around £35m last summer but may be on the move again with Real Madrid and Napoli both monitoring his situation.
In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, Rodriguez revealed a desire to play in La Liga. He said: "I would love to play in Spain. It would be a dream to play there as we are talking about the best league in the world."
Asked about whether that would be for Real Madrid or rivals Barcelona, he added: "I prefer Real Madrid to Barcelona."
Two goals in the last 16 victory against Uruguay, including a sublime volley which will no doubt be a contender for goal of the tournament, have made him the outright top scorer in Brazil.
Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez claims Rodriguez is worthy of the attention he is getting, too, likening him to Diego Maradona and lauding him as the best player to have graced the World Cup so far.