Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has moved a significant step closer to a January move to Manchester United after his manager, Massimiliano Allegri, branded him a stupid boy.
The Chile international, 27, was dropped by Allegri for Juventus’s biggest match of the season so far - against AS Roma - before the international break for his involvement in a nightclub brawl just 72 hours before the crunch Serie A clash. Vidal came on for the final 11 minutes, during which time Juve secured a 3-2 victory, but Allegri insists his decision to bench the world-class midfielder was purely tactical.
Allegri reveals why Vidal was dropped
"Against Roma he [Vidal] was on the bench because I needed, with the return of [Andrea] Pirlo, a more tactical player like [Claudio] Marchisio,” the Italian coach told reporters, before letting his guard slip and perhaps inadvertently revealing the true reason why he benched the £45 million-rated midfielder.
"Every now and then boys do stupid things,” he added. "They need to understand what they cannot afford to do, especially nowadays with cell phones and photographers everywhere."
Vidal fined by Juventus
Vidal, for his involvement in the boozy early-morning bar crawl and subsequent brawl, was handed a club-record fine of €100,000. Reports in Italy even claimed that Juventus chief Beppe Marotta was willing to listen to offers for the player because of his unprofessionalism.
Sports psychologists in his native Chile, meanwhile, were quoted as saying that Vidal required professional help in order to get his career back on track. They claimed that the South American had been “destabilised” because his proposed summer move to Manchester United collapsed.
It was also claimed that Vidal should never have played at the World Cup finals in Brazil because he was not fit. He underwent an operation prior to the showpiece international tournament but, while he represented his country, was not fit enough to make any real impact.
Vidal could join Man United in January
Speculation linking Vidal with a move to Manchester United was intense throughout the summer months, right up until the transfer window closed on September 1. A move failed to materialise, but it seems that the Red Devils are increasingly hopeful of getting a deal over the line in the New Year.
The Daily Star state that Juventus have lowered their asking price for Vidal after his recent antics and that a January transfer is now on the cards - but Juventus will still be keen to secure as much money as possible for the player widely regarded as the world’s best box-to-box midfielder.
Because Juventus already have Marchisio, Pirlo and the wonderfully talented Paul Pogba - a former Manchester United player - Allegri and Juventus will seriously consider any offers if the price is right, but only if Vidal remains unsettled and out-of-sorts in Turin.