Manchester United have long been one of the many clubs pursuing star midfielder Arturo Vidal, with manager Louis van Gaal monitoring the player’s overall fitness in the hopes of adding more depth and talent to the center of Old Trafford’s attack. But recent reports indicate that Van Gaal has built a contingency plan should a deal for the Juventus star fall through. And Van Gaal also appears to have several back-ups in place for every player he chases this summer.
It's already been an active summer for the famed Premier League club, but it could continue for the coming weeks with the deadline approaching. United's first-year manager is lining up a move for Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin, with the San Siro side eager to make room for Parma star Jonathan Biabiany, the Daily Star reports. Van Gaal was prepping a £47 million bid for Vidal, but Juventus may also make a bid for Guarin should United turn their attention to the 28-year-old Colombian playmaker.
Spending the last two terms with Inter since rising to prominence with Portuguese side Porto, Guarin’s totaled eight goals in 64 appearances. He also appeared in two matches during Colombia’s World Cup quarterfinal run last month. Vidal would certainly provide more attacking than Guarin, netting 28 goals with Juve the last three years, but the Chilean would cost far more and it’s unclear how he would fit into Van Gaal’s system.
United could also use the extra savings from Guarin’s purchase in order to pursue Roma defender Mehdi Benatia. Express reports that the Moroccan center back has been in the middle of transfer speculation for quite some time, and that defender Konstaninos Manolas’s expected £8 million deal with Roma likely signals his exit. The 27-year-old Benatia joined Roma only last summer, and he’s under contract for the next four years, upping his market value as high as £30 million. The Express notes that Benatia would serve as an excellent replacement for the now departed Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and he could be worth the fee.
Yet this is another situation where Van Gaal has a back-up plan. According to Daily Mail, United are preparing a £15 million bid for Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, hoping the fee scares off lurking Spanish giants Barcelona. The fee might seem a bit too high with Vermaelen’s value hovering around £12 million, but the Gunners are asking for more since they would prefer to see the 28-year-old Belgian in Spain and not across the pitch during the Premier League season. The same report mentions that Ajax wing back Daley Blind is another of Van Gaal’s targets, with he and Vermaelen well suited to help newest acquisition Luke Shaw.
Lastly, United are also looking to best Barcelona for Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado, with Daily Star reporting the Red Devils’ offer to be roughly £29 million. In recent comments following United’s Champions Cup victory over Liverpool, Van Gaal refused to allude to his pursuit of Cuadrado.
"I cannot talk about Cuadrado, because if I say something about him the price will rise,” he said.
Indeed, Cuadrado proved to be a savior for the Italian side, helping them qualify for Europa League the last two seasons with 16 goals in 68 appearances. A swoop for him and or Benatia would certainly bolster United’s attempt to rise atop the EPL once again.