Speculation over the possibility of Juventus agreeing to a transfer of Arturo Vidal to Manchester United has intensified in recent days. As commentators attempt to read the tidbits of information available, the situation is still murky. The normal variables are in play such as Vidal’s desire to leave Italy to play in the Premier League and a potential transfer fee arrangement, but the uncertainty is even greater than usual given Vidal’s knee operation in May.
Vidal is currently in Asia on the Juventus pre-season tour and will not return to Italy until after a match in Singapore on August 16. United will likely want to perform their own examination of Vidal’s knee; therefore, any Vidal transfer will have to wait until United can schedule an examination. After Vidal’s World Cup duties with Chile concluded, Juventus had Vidal examined to determine his fitness. Such examination would have been necessary whether or not they have any intention of selling his services to United. Assuming transfer talks are underway on some level, the examination notes would have been shared with United. While reviewing Juventus’ examination results might help push talks further, the Red Devils will want to conduct their own exam prior to payment of a sizable transfer fee.
Now that Louis van Gaal has had an opportunity to evaluate his squad, Manchester United transfer speculation will undoubtedly intensify and the spotlight will shine on Arturo Vidal. Van Gaal reportedly attempted to secure Vidal’s services when he managed Bayern Munich. Assuming Vidal is fit, Manchester United would acquire a 27-year-old at the height of his powers who can attack and defend with speed and agility. Ed Woodward recently stated that the Red Devils were unafraid to set a Premier League record with transfer spending and they have a £150 and £220 million budget which has only been tapped to the extent of £60 million for Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. Juventus certainly has no desire for Vidal to leave based on performance, but they could seek to balance the books based on the acquisition of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.
Vidal recently posted an Instagram photo of himself and his Juventus teammates eating dinner together in Indonesia with a caption “I’m happy to stay here.” Some interpret the posted image and caption as a United snub. Such a post could have any number of interpretations. Perhaps more reliable are the statements made by Vidal’s Chile team manager, Jorge Sampaoli, who asserts that the major obstacle standing in the way of a Vidal transfer to United is van Gaal’s comfort level with Vidal’s fitness. If Vidal was dead set against a move to Manchester, Sampaoli would likely have noted that in his comments instead of describing van Gaal’s concerns.
Another factor which could help pave the way for a Vidal transfer to United is the apparent dissatisfaction of van Gaal with Nani and Javier Hernandez. Some believe that either or both players could become consolation prizes for Juventus as part of a deal. The speculation regarding a potential Arturo Vidal transfer to Manchester United will no doubt intensify further as Juventus tours Asia. If a move is to occur, it should happen soon after August 16.
Commentary by William Costolo