Manchester United's unlikely pursuit of Arturo Vidal took a turn for the worse when Juventus boss Antonio Conte confirmed that the Chilean midfielder will remain in Turin next season.
The 27-year-old, also linked with a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid after a fantastic campaign with the Serie A champions, is set to continue his role as destroyer at the heart of Juve's success.
"Vidal remains, yes," Conte told Gazzetta dello Sport, as reported by Nadia Carminati of Sky Sports. Although there was only ever an outside shot that Vidal would leave the Italian title winners this summer, Conte's comments all but confirm that he isn't a viable target for any of Europe's top sides.
Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports USA also indicated that Vidal isn't likely to secure an Old Trafford switch:
Louis van Gaal must pursue more realistic midfield options at United. David Wright of the Express believes the club have agreed to a deal for Toni Kroos, while The Guardian's Jamie Jackson indicates that the Dutch manager isn't interested.
Kroos' name has continued to swirl around United rumours in recent months, indicating he is a realistic target if Van Gaal wishes to work with his former Bayern Munich colleague.
Of course, part of the new manager's task will be ridding the squad of unneeded players. Javier Hernandez, despite earning himself a "super sub" reputation during his United tenure, has been urged to quit the club by Mexican national boss Miguel Herrera.
The comments come after Hernandez started just eight games across the Premier League and Champions League last season, per WhoScored.com.
"In the case of 'Chicharito', I believe it'd be in his interest to leave so he is taken into consideration to play," said Herrera, as reported by Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports.
Hernandez acknowledged that his future remains up in the air. The 25-year-old, signed by United prior to the last World Cup, suggests anything could happen across the coming weeks, per Freitas: "There is obviously uncertainty [regarding my future], but right now I am fully focused on the national team. My agent and my staff help me work it all out. My future could be decided tomorrow, a little after or within three months. (I could) stay there (in Manchester), I really don't know."
Despite his finishing skills, Hernandez's all-round tools have proved too limited to maintain a starting spot at United. He isn't particularly adept at holding on to the ball and is regularly caught offside, while Little Pea's lack of aerial dominance ensures it is difficult for him to lead the line as United's lone striker.
Hernandez's work rate definitely upped as the season came to an end, but his finishing prowess disappeared. Once this attribute is removed from his game, Hernandez is in dangerous territory of letting matches pass him by. His movement remains sharp, suggesting he could develop in a different system.
Van Gaal is expected to quickly wean players he doesn't intend to use out of the squad. Vidal was always going to be an unrealistic target, but world-class individuals with the quality of Kroos are more than welcome at the Theatre of Dreams. Such acquisitions will galvanise a squad that—both on paper and in play—needs a major overhaul.