Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta has insisted that Arturo Vidal was never available for transfer at any price this summer, effectively suggesting that Manchester United have wasted their time chasing a midfield maestro who will stay in Serie A for the rest of this season at the very least.
Vidal has been the subject of intense transfer speculation ever since his efforts at the World Cup with Chile concluded at the beginning of last month, despite a nagging knee problem.
United even went as far as carrying out their own medical checks to establish if Vidal would be fully fit before the transfer window slammed shut, but Marotta remains adamant he never received a concrete offer for the 27-year-old and wouldn't entertain a late bid even if it arrived in the next 12 days.
Old Lady in no mood to do business
Marotta is quoted by Sky Sports Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio as telling the television station earlier today: “Vidal is fine, he resumed working and the knee is fully functional. He’s at disposal of the team.
"There have been the usual rumours about him, but he has never been put on the transfer market and there has never been a negotiation.
"These are the usual commonplaces by the media that have no real confirmations."
Who now for Man United?
It seems quite remarkable that Man United and chiefly executive vice-president Ed Woodward has failed to test Juve's resolve with a genuine offer for Vidal this summer, but that's exactly the claim Marotta has made and it looks to ring true.
That means United now face a made scramble to sign a genuine world-class midfielder over the next week or so, particularly after they were found wanting in a painful 2-1 defeat to Swansea City last weekend.
Louis van Gaal's arrival at the Theatre of Dreams was supposed to make sure last season's disastrous seventh-placed finish in the Premier League was the exception rather than the rule, but the manager's vision could be compromised unless some of his top targets are snapped up in the short time left available to make transfers.
Dose of realism required
Real Madrid wing wizard Angel di Maria has also been consistently mentioned in connection with a blockbuster move to Manchester United, although that complicated chase also looks set for disaster when you consider Paris Saint-Germain are seriously interested and can offer Champions League football to one of the world's best midfielders.
The likes of Ajax captain Daley Blind and AC Milan midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong look far more realistic signings with time definitely not on United's side, with the chase for Vidal surely now finally at an end thanks to a very decisive statement from Marotta.