A curious triangle has developed as Manchester United and Chelsea FC compete for separate Juventus transfers. The Italian club has transfer targets Alvaro Morata and also possibly Angel Di Maria in its sights. Given the hefty transfer fees of Morata and Di Maria, Juventus is most likely looking to balance the books by letting go either Paul Pogba or Arturo Vidal and collecting a healthy ransom in return. Although not competing directly for the same players, the Red Devils and the Blues are competing to see who pays the desired Juventus transfer ransom for their preferred targets.
By all accounts, Jose Mourinho is working to bring Paul Pogba to Stamford Bridge to cap off his successful transfer window activity. Pogba is thought to be in play as a possible Juventus sale to finance the Morata transaction. After already locking up Cesc Febregas, Nemanja Matic and youngster Mario Pasalic, and apparently all but finished with Diego Costa and Filipe Luis deals, Mourinho has been busy remaking the side after the departures of David Luiz and Ashley Cole. Adding the French midfielder Pogba to the side could elevate Chelsea FC to Premier League co-favorite with Manchester City.
Manchester United is struggling with Juventus on two fronts. Manager Louis van Gaal and vice chairman Ed Woodward are reportedly in a tug of war with Juventus over a transfer of Angel Di Maria, who is desired by both clubs. At the same time, the Red Devils are pushing Juventus for a transfer of Arturo Vidal. Manchester United seems to be in a tougher spot than Chelsea at the moment given that the Stamford Bridge club has made more significant transfer moves thus far this summer than United, even though the Glazers have reportedly opened the purse strings to allow a massive transfer budget somewhere between £150 and £220 million. Although fans of the Old Trafford club are excited about the Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera moves, they were expecting much more activity to occur.
If Juventus truly wishes to end up with Morata and Di Maria, then Chelsea could lock up Pogba and Manchester United still obtain Vidal. The transfer fees incurred by the Italian club would work to the favor of the Premier League competitors. Given the Juventus desire for Di Maria, Manchester could find it most difficult to acquire Di Maria and Vidal even if they do have money to spend. They presumably will only end up with both of those targets if Chelsea whiffs on Pogba and Juventus still needs to balance the books for Morata.
The best play for Chelsea could be to conclude a deal for Pogba before van Gaal returns to full engagement with United. His split attention could be a reason for the slower movement by Manchester United to spend its transfer war chest so far. The next several days should be interesting as the Manchester United, Chelsea FC and Juventus transfer competition and tug of war plays out. Red Devils fans looking for an overhaul during the transfer window need van Gaal and Woodward to win.
Commentary by William Costolo