The 2014 World Cup is in full swing, and with some of the biggest talents in all of football showing what they can do on a pitch, the rumours linking Manchester United to a host of world-class talents continue to flow.
Most of the deals won't be concluded until after the tournament is over, but following United's disappointing season in 2013-14, the Red Devils are expected to be big players during the summer transfer market.
Here are the latest rumours regarding some of the top targets United are reportedly tracking.
Arturo Vidal Not Committing His Future To Juventus
The Chilean midfielder told Sky Italia (h/t to Sky Sports' Nadia Carminati) he "doesn't know" whether he'll be staying with Italian champions Juventus:
Will I stay at Juventus? I do not know.
I just think about the World Cup and the national team now.
After the World Cup we will see what will be my future.
Vidal has been one of Juventus' top performers over the past two seasons, playing in support of Andrea Pirlo as a box-to-box midfielder. Combining superb athletic ability with a great work ethic, Vidal is capable of contributing on every level of the pitch, often filling the role of the Bianconeri's top scoring threat.
The Red Devils sorely lacked a physical element in their midfield last season, and there are few better ball-winners in all of football than Vidal. Juventus won't be willing to part ways with the Chilean cheaply, but the Italian team could be swayed into a sale should the right offer come along.
Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in his services, and Ivan Zamorano recently told AS (h/t to football-italia) Florentino Perez reached out to the legendary Chilean about whether or not Vidal would be a good fit with Real.
United would have to act fast, and it is likely Vidal would prefer to play UEFA Champions League football with Real over an English adventure.
Thomas Vermaelen To Concentrate On Present, Not Future
I know there has been a lot of talk and a lot of rumours but the only thing I can say is that it's not true.
Everybody understands my situation at Arsenal and that I have one year left.
I understand that people are going to talk but I am here in Brazil and I am enjoying my time and I'm focused on what I am doing.
Vermaelen has fallen down the the Gunners' pecking order, with Arsene Wenger preferring the duo of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker to anchor his defence. He also didn't start Belgium's World Cup opener, Marc Wilmots instead opting to play Daniel van Buyten next to captain Vincent Kompany.
The centre-back is still a useful option off the bench and a potential starter next to an experienced defender who would take on the responsibilities of setting the lines. Taking full advantage of his excellent athleticism and aerial abilities, Vermaelen's strong suit is cleaning up anything that drops in or near the box.
Vermaelen is expected to start Belgium's second group match against Russia, to counter that team's mobile forwards. A start against talented attackers like Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Aleksandr Kokorin should give Louis van Gaal some idea whether or not Vermaelen is an avenue United should explore further.
Nicolas Gaitan Reportedly On His Way To Old Trafford
According to A Bola (h/t to Metro), the Red Devils have offered Benfica £20 million for winger Gaitan, with the deal set to be close to completion. Portuguese media have been linking Gaitan to United for months now, but the club is yet to comment on their interest in the player.
While it's important to remember the Portuguese papers have a reputation for breaking news that turns out to be false (for instance, in January they reported Ezequiel Garay was on his way to the club, per ITV), too much ink has been spilled on this story for there not to be any basis.
Gaitan was converted to play the winger position by Benfica, and while he lacks the pure athleticism to be considered an elite player, his technique and passing ability make him a useful asset for managers who know how to use him.
Jan Hagen doesn't think he would be the right player for United, however:
At the age of 26, questions about his long-term potential will remain, and while he isn't necessarily a bad player, it's difficult to see how he would fit into Van Gaal's plans.
United are a top team, and investing £20 million in a player who will never be more than a solid contributor seems like a step in the wrong direction for the club. With better options available on the market, I'd be surprised if the Red Devils pulled the trigger on this move.
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