Manchester United are hoping to sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal in a $60 million deal after positive talks between both clubs on Friday. The Chile international’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, who also represents new Arsenal signing and Alexis Sánchez, is currently reporting back to Vidal following the discussions.
Vidal joined La Vecchia Signora in 2011 from German outfit Bayer Leverkusen and has gone on to impress. Since moving to Turin, Vidal has won three consecutive Scudetti. He is also the perfect blend of a tough-tackling player and one who scores goals for his side. The 27-year-old went to the World Cup in Brazil despite undergoing knee surgery in May and helped his side reach the knock-out stages. Host nation Brazil ended Chile’s involvement in the tournament after a penalty shoot-out and so Vidal has had time to think about his next move.
One stumbling block for United, apart from the fact they cannot offer Vidal European football of any description next season, is the fact the player signed a contract extension in December making him a Juventus man until 2017. That means the latter can hold out for the highest price, which is around $60 million. However, United have an ace up their sleeve in veteran defender, Patrice Evra. Juve are keen to take the Frenchman and so United will use him as a bargaining chip to secure Vidal. Former Monaco man Evra is keen to move to Italy and so a deal would please all parties.
United are also said to be close to signing fellow South American Ángel Di María from Real Madrid. However, French champions Paris Saint-Germain have come in with a late bid and the Parisians can offer more cash to both Juventus and the Argentine. They can also offer him Champions League football.
Di María said previously that he wanted to be kept in the dark by his agent so he could focus on the World Cup. However, with the tournament coming to an end after tomorrow’s final between Argentina and Germany, Di María will find a long queue of suitors ready to pay a lot of money for his services.
If United do get one of Di María and Vidal, the other may be tempted to join, too. However, if one rejects a move then it could prove difficult for new United boss Luis van Gaal to attract other big names. So far he has signed Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and Luke Shaw from Southampton. Both players are talented, but neither is a marquee name. Van Gaal knows he is expected to deliver instant success and so getting big names to Old Trafford as soon as he joins is seen as important by both United’s board and fans.
Right now van Gaal is hoping to secure a double swoop, which could see Di María join for $68 million and Vidal for $60 million. If he pulls it off, United could be installed as favorites to win back their Premier League crown from local neighbors, Manchester City. If he does not, he will face a race against time to make sure he gets the right players to put United back on their perch.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd