Football

Manchester United right to target Arturo Vidal

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It wouldn't be a summer transfer window without plenty of rumours surrounding Manchester United, and the 2014 window is certainly no different.

New boss Louis van Gaal is said to have been handed around £200 million to spend this summer and he's already started splashing the cash by securing the signatures of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera - before he even officially takes over at Old Trafford.

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However, the next new arrival could well be the big one - and one Manchester United fans have longed for. The Dutchman is believed to be in the market for a dominant figure in midfield - a trouble position for the Red Devils for years now.

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In fact, ever since Roy Keane left under a cloud in 2005 following a bust-up with Sir Alex Ferguson and his then-assistant Carlos Queiroz, Manchester United have longed for someone to drive them forward from the middle of the park. Some thought that when Marouane Fellaini arrived he could be that man for the job but he struggled badly, and could now even leave the club.

Michael Carrick has been a qualified success in midfield since joining from Tottenham, but he's no Keane - he's game is more about picking passes and constructing play at a slower tempo. Owen Hargreaves could have been the man to fill the void, but we all know what happened there.

Who to sign?

So it has come to this summer and Van Gaal has in his sights the man for the job. Or if reports are to be believed, the two men for the job. And they both play for the same club - Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba from Juventus.

Obviously, it would be something of a bitter-sweet moment if Pogba returned to Old Trafford given he walked away on a free two seasons ago, but reports suggest that Manchester United are willing to forgive and forget to make a £60 million transfer swoop. Reports also suggest however that Vidal is close to joining the 2012/13 Premier League champions too - and a quick look at the stats show that he is undoubtedly the best man for the job.

Presumably whoever joins will play alongside Ander Hererra - an intelligent player on the ball who knows how to keep possession. That means his new partner will have to compliment his style - so needs to be incisive, dynamic and drive the team forward. Basically be everything Tom Cleverley isn't.

Homework

It seems Van Gaal's scouts have done their homework because Vidal fits that bill perfectly. One look at him on the pitch for Juventus or Chile will tell you all you need to know about his playing style - he's an all-action hero as well as a talisman.

And the stats back that up and show just why he's better suited for Manchester United than Pogba. 

The first thing to note is that he will certainly add steel to the heart of midfield - he made 96 tackles in 32 games compared to Pogba's 63 in 36. That will certainly help Manchester United stamp their authorities more than they were able to last season; plus he made three more interceptions in less games than his team-mate which will help them unleash the counter-attacking powers of Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney.

Possession

Of course one of the biggest problems with the Red Devils last season was their lack of penetration, which forced them to go wide and lump aimless crosses into the box - although if they were to do that with Vidal, they'd have a pretty formidable presence in the box.

So it will be reassuring to see that Vidal is nothing if not a positive player - he made on average almost 27 forward passes-per-game, two more on average than Pogba. That sort of incisive passing is just what they need, and he should be able to find Manchester United's diminutive playmakers like Mata and Shinji Kagawa in pockets of space. 

Leader

The theme continues when it comes to comparing both players with the ball at their feet; Vidal has a better pass completion rate and creates almost 1.5 chances-per-game for his team-mates, well above Pogba's 1.33 average. To put that in context, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley made on average 0.97 and 0.45 chances-per-game, which highlights just how little they had to offer going forward.

Of course there are pros to the Pogba deal; he's younger and has the potential to become an even better player. However when you couple together Vidal's stats and his remarkable presence on the field, it's easy to see why he's just the man that Manchester United need as they look to kickstart their rebuilding program and become a giant of the game once more. 

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Topics:
Manchester United
Arturo Vidal
Premier League
Football

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