Where Morgan Schneiderlin currently sits at the heart of Manchester United’s midfield could have been Arturo Vidal.
The Chile international has revealed that he came close to signing for the Red Devils in the summer of 2015.
Vidal went on to join Bayern Munich from Juventus in a deal reportedly worth £28 million.
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The 28-year-old was ultimately swayed by the opportunity to join Pep Guardiola in Germany, where he is basically guaranteed to feature in the latter stages of the Champions League on a regular basis.
Vidal told The Times: “Yes, there was a chance to come to England. It was last summer, and at one point, we thought that is what would happen.
“I liked the opportunity that they had offered me, but eventually it did not happen and I chose to come to Bayern. There are always many teams around that go to my agent.
“I wanted to come to a team this strong and to a project that is so ambitious. I feel very happy.
Manchester United’s hierarchy could never have imagined this season becoming such a disaster but, if they somehow could see into the future, there’s no question they would have done everything possible to complete the deal for Vidal, perhaps even offering wages rivalling that of Wayne Rooney’s reported £260,000-per-week deal.
Louis van Gaal is walking a fine line as United manager following a humiliating loss to Midtjylland in the Europa League last Thursday. That loss followed a 2-1 to defeat to Premier League strugglers Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Vidal is on pace to win the Bundesliga title in his first season at the Bavarians and also has a Champions League winners medal on his mind.
Guardiola’s team have an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund in the race to win the German league, while Vidal’s former team Juventus await in the Champions League last-16.
Van Gaal signed Schneiderlin from Southampton for £24 million in July and also added Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern in the same month and, while neither player has proved a terrible signing, the centre-midfield duo are not of Vidal’s ilk.
Much of the criticism of the United boss has stemmed from his tedious play style, and that perhaps isn’t helped by Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger’s inability to have a real impact on a game.
Vidal, though, plays with a vigour that would have been admired at Old Trafford.
Bayern signed the former Bayer Leverkusen man for £28.9m, a fee United could have easily afforded given that they spent over £100m last summer.
But United aren’t the attractive club that they once were. According to reports, they pursued Guardiola when the Spaniard revealed his intention to leave Barcelona in the summer, but were helpless to prevent him agreeing to join Manchester City.
United are on the brink of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League and that will hurt their appeal furthermore, even if they are successful in their attempt to appoint the revered Jose Mourinho as their new manager.