Manchester United are leading the race to sign Chile and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal in a £44 million ($32 million) deal. The World Cup star is understood to have been offered £250,000-a-week ($426,000) to join the Red Devils, according to reports.
Vidal saw his country’s World Cup hopes dashed after Chile lost on penalties to host nation Brazil, and so now he will turn his attention to fielding offers from United and Spanish giants, Real Madrid. United boss Louis van Gaal, who will join the squad for the first time next month after managing the Netherlands in the World Cup in Brazil, is said to be keen on adding Vidal as United continue to rebuild following a dismal campaign under David Moyes last season.
However, Vidal has previously admitted he would not be prepared to leave Serie A champions Juve unless his next club is competing in the Champions League. A move to Old Trafford would require Vidal to take a year out from Europe’s premier competition after United – who were defending champions – failed to qualify for European competition.
Nevertheless, Vidal may be tempted to join van Gaal’s revolution due to the fact the Dutchman has already secured Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and Luke Shaw from Southampton in a £58 million double raid. Premier League rivals Arsenal are also said to be keen to sign Vidal but Real and United are leading the way, with the Old Trafford outfit said to be leading the race for the World Cup star.
Although United are leading the race to sign Vidal, Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has insisted he is keen to land the player. Reports have suggested he is prepared to break the £42m the Gunners paid Real Madrid for Mesut Özil in September 2013. The Gunners boss, who is currently in Brazil commentating on the World Cup for French television, has yet to sign a single player since the transfer window opened. However, the north London side have been linked with Toulouse and Côte d’Ivoire star Serge Aurier along with AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.
Van Gaal is keen to make a statement when he joins United having stated he expects to win a major trophy in his first season. It is a far cry from his predecessor David Moyes, who warned United fans not to expect anything of not in his maiden season. Now having taken his Netherlands side to at least the quarter-finals in the World Cup, van Gaal will turn up at Old Trafford with his good reputation firmly intact.
Having coached his fellow countryman Robin van Persie as well as having facing his future employee Javier Hernández in the World Cup in Brazil, van Gaal will have to come out of international mode in a fortnight and being addressing his Premier League squad. Whether or not he will be happy with the squad assembled, Chile World Cup star Vidal is one of his key targets. His job now is to make sure he signs the Juve man under the noses of Real and Arsenal.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd