Arturo Vidal is just hours away from announcing whether he will leave Juventus for Manchester United, after his club gave him a deadline of August 15 to decide his future. The Chilean has been a target for United all summer, but the Red Devils have so far failed to make a formal offer for the player. It is has been reported that United manager Louis van Gaal had not made the bid, despite monitoring Vidal for some time, due to the fact the player underwent major knee surgery before the World Cup in Brazil. The Dutch coach wanted to see how Vidal fared after the operation before making a decision.
Juventus are thought to be holding out for $57 million, but United value Vidal at considerably less. Nevertheless, the Italian giants have become increasingly frustrated at the constant speculation surrounding their player and so have told him to come up with a decision by August 15, which is just hours away. It has been suggested United stars Javier Hernández and Nani have been offered on separate occasions as makeweights in a deal for Vidal, but so far there has been little or no progress.
Vidal himself fueled speculation earlier this week that he was set for a move to Old Trafford when he twice signed United shirts for fans during Juve’s tour of Australia. Van Gaal is desperate to sign a combative midfielder to complement new signing Ander Herrera and other creative talents, such as Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa (should the Japan international remain at Old Trafford).
Although United have signed Herrera and defender Luke Shaw during the transfer window, they have yet to make a marquee signing. Argentina and Real Madrid winger Ángel Di María and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels are two other big name players being tracked by United, but so far they have yet to make a concrete offer for either player. The former was expected to join French champions Paris Saint-Germain, but they pulled out, claiming the Argentine was “too expensive”, particularly for a club that has already fallen foul of the financial fair play rules. United are said to be in the driving seat to sign Di María, but whether the English giants are prepared to pay the $80 million+ asking price is another matter. Van Gaal talked up the player a few days ago when he said United lacked a winger of Di María’s quality, but the comment was not followed up with action on the part of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. The latter went to watch Real Madrid defeat Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup earlier this week and it was suggested he would use the opportunity to talk about Di María, yet there has been no confirmation that happened.
If United were to secure Vidal and Di María, it would be a real statement of intent from van Gaal, who is tasked with getting the club back into the Champions League and amongst the Premier League elite once more. United should know in the next 24 hours whether Vidal has made a decision to join them, and if he does, it could be just the tonic and an incentive for another marquee player to follow.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd