Manchester United enquired about Alfonso Pedraza but moved onto Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella after learning that Villarreal had no interest in selling.

Had Villarreal been open to offers for the Spain international left-back, Alfonso Pedraza could have found himself joining Rio Ferdinand, Eric Cantona, Gordon Strachan, Alan Smith and co in a very exclusive club.

Pedraza spent a brief loan spell at Leeds in the second half of the 2016/17 season, after all, a permanent £9 million switch falling through after Gary Monk’s side missed out on promotion.

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Manchester United like Villarreal’s Alfonso Pedraza

Seven years on, the former Spain U21 international has blossomed into one of the more underrated full-backs in European football.

He was, alongside Pervis Estupinan, Pau Torres and Arnaut Danjuma (all of whom are now currently plying their trade in England), a key cog in the Villarreal machine who came so close to the Champions League final under Unai Emery in 2022.

His agent even admitted a few months ago that Italian giants Juventus, Inter Milan and Atalanta had all expressed an interest. And, after losing both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia to medium-term injuries, Manchester United became the latest club to come knocking, only to discover that Villarreal had no intention of negotiating a deal, either temporary or permanent (Marca).

Marc Cucurella the most likely

United ran into similar obstacles in pursuit of Barcelona veteran Marcos Alonso. Brentford’s Rico Henry, meanwhile, is simply too expensive at £30 million. The smart money, then, is on Marc Cucurella arriving to fill a Luke Shaw-shaped void on the left of Erik ten Hag’s defence, Fabrizio Romano reporting that personal terms have been agreed already. Chelsea, meanwhile, are willing to loan out a player they paid £60 million for just one year ago.

“I understand Manchester United have reached an agreement in principle with Cucurella on personal terms,” Romano wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. “Green light arrived on the player’s side.

“Man United won’t negotiate for any other left back now. They want to get Cucurella deal done with Chelsea ASAP.”