Manchester United or Chelsea could finally sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal after the Chile international’s club teammate Paul Pogba put pen to paper on a contract extension with the Serie A champions.
According to reports in Spain - and brought to our attention by the Express - Vidal could leave the Juventus Stadium in 2015, with the Italian club keen to build their team around Pogba instead.
United have been strongly linked with Vidal over the past four months, but it’s understood that Chelsea also have an interest in signing the world-class 27-year-old. Real Madrid, too, are keen on the possibility of bringing him to the Bernabeu.
Vidal has endured a difficult season with Juventus, not helped by controversial off-field incidents. The South American midfielder was handed a club-record fine of €100,000 for his involvement in a nightclub brawl, days before Juventus’s biggest match of the season so far against fellow title contenders AS Roma.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri subsequently dropped Vidal for the match, but did bring him on for the final 11 minutes, during which time Juventus scored their winning goal in a 3-2 win.
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There has been much speculation about why Vidal has been behaving so peculiarly in recent weeks. Sports psychologists in his native Chile have suggested that the player is suffering because of two things in particular: the fact he was rushed back from injury in order to play at the World Cup, and his failure to secure a summer move to Manchester United.
Allegri recently stated that there was “no possibility” that Vidal would be allowed to leave Juventus for Manchester United when the transfer window re-opens in January, but the Spanish press are less convinced now that Pogba has signed his new deal, which will keep him in Turin until 2019.
"The club has been very clear on Vidal. This season Vidal is a Juventus player and I think there's no possibility that in January he'll go to Manchester," - Massimiliano Allegri.
Are United prepared to gamble?
But will United boss Louis van Gaal be prepared to pay up to £48 million for a player who has displayed such unprofessional behaviour in recent months? Furthermore, will he be prepared to pay that much cash - plus at least £130,000-a-week in wages - to sign a player with questions marks hanging over the long-term durability of his right knee.
Vidal underwent surgery on his knee back in May, after suffering an injury towards the end of the 2013-14 campaign, which was the primary reason why Van Gaal opted against pursuing a potential deal in the summer.
But even if Van Gaal opts against signing Vidal, it seems certain that another interested club - potentially Chelsea or Real Madrid - would be more than happy to sign him up.