Arturo Vidal has shrugged off the prospect of a transfer to Manchester United this summer. The Juventus midfielder has been repeatedly linked with a move to Old Trafford during both the current transfer window and the January’s. A recent unexpected change in manager at the Italian champions had been seen by many as reason for encouragement for United that they could finally get their man. Yet when Vidal arrived back in Turin on Thursday he appeared to rule out a move to Manchester.
“I am still on my holidays,” he told Sky Sports Italia, according to The Guardian. “I don’t know if I am staying at Juventus at the moment. I have not spoken to Allegri or my team-mates yet. On Monday I will speak to the manager [Massimiliano Allegri] and then we will see. I am happy here and I am calm at the moment and I think the fans of Juventus should be as well.”
When asked specifically about joining United, the Chile international said “No, no.” Putting much stock in those particular comments, as several news outlets have done, may be unwise. Having been harangued by a reporter at the airport, Vidal appeared keen to simply send him on his way rather than engage in a genuine conversation about his future. None the less, a transfer to United remains unlikely, and Juventus appear convinced that Vidal will be remaining where he is.
“It’s very simple,” Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta said, reports the Football Italia website. “Vidal extended his contract with us last season, as there was a reciprocal desire to continue this rapport.
“There is no reason for him to leave. Yesterday he gave an interview in a rushed and embarrassed manner, as he was getting his luggage and so was misinterpreted. I can assure and confirm Vidal is happy to be with us and there’s no reason for alarm.”
There may be more encouraging news elsewhere. Manchester United look to have renewed hope of landing Ángel di María after Paris Saint-Germain’s bid for the Real Madrid midfielder reportedly stalled. Following Madrid’s purchase of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos in big-money transfers, Di María looks likely to be on the way out of the European champions this summer. Yet, while French champions PSG are believed to be ahead of United in the queue to land the Argentina international, their deal is being hindered by Financial Fair Play restrictions.
PSG faced sanctions at the end of last season for breaching regulations and have already spent in excess of £40 million this summer on Brazilian defender David Luiz. According to Spanish outlet AS, Di María is growing frustrated with PSG’s delay in raising the €60 million (£47.5m) it would take to secure his services and has threatened that he will open negotiations with fellow-suitors Manchester United if there is no progress.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward claimed earlier this week that the finances were available to new manager Louis van Gaal to strengthen his squad and even break the world transfer record to do so. The report in AS does caution, however, that United are hesitant to match Di María’s wage demands of €8 million (£6.3m) net a season.
Di María faced a similar situation when Gareth Bale arrived for the still world record transfer fee of £86 million last summer and the former Benfica man was made available. Yet Di María stood his ground and vowed to earn a place in the first team. He did so emphatically and played a starring role in the Champions League final. Yet with Madrid again having spent big to sign a star name, he will surely now be moving on.
A supremely energetic and gifted player, Di María showed last season that he could operate on the left of a midfield three in addition to either wing. Still, there would seem no position for the 26-year-old in the 3-4-1-2 formation for which Van Gaal has shown an early preference.
Rather than the likes of Vidal and Di María, it could be that Van Gaal intends to concentrate his transfer business on those players he already knows well from his time in charge of the Netherlands. Daley Blind and Stefan de Vrij have been strongly linked and now Manchester-based BBC reported Mike Keegan has tweeted that United are keen on Memphis Depay.
The 20-year-old had a breakthrough campaign with PSV Eindhoven last season and impressed as an impact substitute at the World Cup, scoring two goals and being listed among the nominees for the tournament’s best young player. According to Keegan, any deal could see Depay being loaned out for the first year.