EXCLUSIVE: Ferguson told he must cough up 36m to land Rodriguez in January
12:25 GMT, 6 November 2012
Manchester United have stepped up their pursuit of James Rodriguez but been stunned by a massive hike in his asking price.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has
been on the trail of Rodriguez for months and despatched a scout to
watch him in Porto's latest Portuguese League game against Maritimo at
the Estadio do Dragao on Friday night.
Hot shot: Man United scouts watched another impressive display by Porto's James Rodriguez
So who is James Rodriguez
One of Colombia's hottest prospects, the 21-year-old has already earned been hailed as the 'new Carlos Valderrama' and the 'South American Cristiano Ronaldo'.
Rodriguez was captain of the Colombian-U20 team, leading them to a victory at the 2011 Toulon Tournament where he was voted the best player.
He joined Porto for 4m from Argentine team Club Atletico Banfield in 2010 and has scored 20 goals in 48 games.
Rodriguez has also made eight appearances for Colombia and scored two goals.
The form report could hardly have been more glowing, after the 21-year old Colombia winger underlined his rating as the South American Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring two goals and laying on another in a 5-0 win.
But Sportsmail can reveal that United have been shocked by news that Rodriguez has renegotiated his Porto deal and agreed a significant increase in his transfer market valuation.
When United last enquired about cost, they were told they would have to pay 24million to buy him out of his contract. In a readjustment that surely places the goalscoring winger beyond their reach, the release clause now stands at 36million.
United have a ready-made bargaining tool in unsettled Portugal winger Nani, who could be used in a part-exchange package.
High praise: Rodriguez has been branded the South American Cristiano Ronaldo
Porto would happily welcome him back to his homeland but cannot afford his current wage, let alone the 130,000 a week he is thought to be seeking to stay at Old Trafford.
Porto are unlikely to consider any bid for Rodriguez that falls below the buy-out figure in his contract after seeing him further enhance his reputation by laying on a fourth-minute opener for fellow-Colombian Jackson Martinez and follow up with two goals of his own on Friday night.
It leaves Ferguson exploring ways of raising funds to finance what would be an expensive January transaction, with finding a buyer for Nani appearing to be his main priority.
All change: Rodriguez could replace Nani at United