Manchester United Target Arturo Vidal A Key Piece For Next Season
By Abdullah Mamaniyat
Louis Van Gaal will meet the Manchester United squad for the first time early next week as his World Cup business has finally concluded with a 3-0 win against Brazil to claim third place. This also concludes what has been a very impatient spell for United fans to have the Dutchman in charge as soon as possible.
However, his lengthy run with the Netherlands side has not just forced him to occupy himself with the national team in Brazil, but rather has took on the role of multi-tasking with his new club on the transfer side.
As much credit is due to Ed Woodward to securing the deals, Van Gaal's intent to start the job (in spirit) as soon as he signed on the dotted line has played perfectly. Enlisting Woodward with a list of ideal targets has already meant that the Red Devils have already secured the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera before the Dutchman has arrived.
One player that won't be there on Monday morning is Arturo Vidal, but possibly not for the want of trying. United have been strongly linked with the Chilean, who himself played an integral part in his country's successful run to the round of 16, only to be beaten by eventual semi-finalists and hosts Brazil. His renowned qualities were confirmed upon sight when a knee operation done just before the World Cup meant that he would not be able to play at 100 percent during the tournament, but even in his condition managed to play an integral part in Chile's success in finishing second and beating Spain in Group B.
Vidal himself had been quoted during the tournament as being unsure of his future, rather opting for the less than satisfactory 'I'm focused on the World Cup' response for a scoop that the fans, and journalists had hoped for.
His arrival at Old Trafford may not be, but one thing is for sure: Juventus will be reluctant in letting the 27-year-old leave the Old Lady, as he's played a heavily influential part since his arrival from Bayern Leverkusen, in three consecutive Scudetto's under Antonio Conte. Whatever the case, if the Bianconeri do decide to sell the midfielder, they will be no doubt be making a profit on him, which could prompt the imminent arrivals of Juan Iturbe and Alvaro Morata without having to dig into their pockets for money that is not Vidal money.
United themselves have lacked a dominant, ball winning, powerhouse midfielder since the departure of Roy Keane in 2005. Whilst craving for a midfielder with these attributes in one, Michael Carrick has offered something different in the same role for the past few years, but alternatively as someone who has the ability to break down play rather than speed up the transition from defense to attack. Otherwise, United have certainly lacked a leader in a midfield who isn't afraid to 'get stuck in', but at the same time be as versatile.
As far as stats are concerned, Vidal managed 4.2 tackles on average per game, across all competitions last season, as well as an impressive offensive record of five assists and 1.4 key passes on average.
The most obvious department for the lackluster midfield is goals. Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher and Carrick offered as much as two goals in the Premier League last season. Vidal, for Juventus, offered his share of 11 goals in Serie A alone, making his claim as the best box-to-box midfielder in the world has strong a case than ever.
Van Gaal has made it no secret that he is a huge fan of Vidal, and even attempted to court him from Leverkusen to Bayern Munich in 2011.
Whether this is the situation now remains to be foreseen in the coming weeks, but since the Chilean has only gotten better and better with time, any manager would find it hard to resist purchasing Vidal—least of all Van Gaal, who won't be overly keen on managing a midfield as stale as this, even with the purchase of Ander Herrera already secured.
United have bucks, and Vidal is worth a ton of bucks.
What we do know is that since better times are ahead for Manchester United, a pattern is slowly starting to emerge that the quality of players are also evidently getting better.