Liverpool are reportedly ready to rival Manchester United for the services of Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, but the Reds shouldn't get their hopes up. Barring some strange turn of events, it is highly unlikely the Bianconeri would sell the fan favourite to Liverpool right now.
According to the Chilean press (h/t Metro), the Reds will match Manchester United's offer of £42.5 million for the powerful midfielder. Such a move would serve two purposes: Brendan Rodgers would be signing one of the world's top players while keeping him away from a direct Premier League competitor.
A transfer move for Vidal makes sense. The Reds have been very active during the summer, but they've yet to make a truly marquee signing. Vidal would not only fit the profile but would also fill a direct need as a powerful box-to-box midfielder capable of protecting the team's back line.
Juventus have so far made it clear they don't wish to sell, however, and star striker Carlos Tevez echoed that sentiment when he spoke to the press about Vidal, Patrice Evra and the departure of Antonio Conte:
Vidal's phenomenal and a real champion. I hope he stays here because we can't afford to let our champions leave.
I'm delighted with Evra's arrival -- he's a great friend of mine. Let's now wait and see when we have our full squad what objectives we can set ourselves this season in Serie A and the Champions League.
We just need to prove that we are a winning team. Conte had a big influence on our victories, but the scudettos are not only his merit. This is why we've now got to get even stronger.
It's much more difficult winning a fourth straight scudetto than it is having to cope without Conte. His decision didn't disappoint me.
Now, just because a team doesn't want to sell doesn't mean they won't should the right offer come along. The Reds have the funds necessary to make a move for the Chilean international, and there is little doubt Vidal would be worth it.
He's an absolute menace on the ball, acting as one of Juventus' primary scorers while doing an incredible amount of defensive work, per WhoScored.com:
Arturo Vidal: Since he joined Juventus in 2011, Vidal has made 60 more tackles (459) than any other player in Serie A; Behrami second (399)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 23, 2014
Vidal truly is a unique player with the athleticism to make plays all over the pitch, the physicality to dominate play in the centre and the technical skills to be a force near the opposition's goal.
Vavel Bundesliga's Marco Conradie thinks Liverpool should have no difficulty pulling off this move from a financial perspective:
Liverpool are reportedly prepared to offer the €54.5 million that Juventus are demanding for Arturo Vidal, they certainly have the funds.— Marco Conradie (@MarcoConradie10) July 23, 2014
There's a problem, however, and in the summer of 2014, it's a big one. Juventus have just replaced one of the team's most beloved players and managers of all time, Conte, with Massimiliano Allegri, which doesn't sit well with the fans.
As reported by Football Italia, fans protested the hiring of Allegri the moment it became public, with five ultra representatives even holding a meeting with club officials regarding the decision.
Allegri is to Juventus what David Moyes is to Liverpool—except Juventus have just won three consecutive Serie A titles. To say he's unpopular with the fans would be the understatement of the year.
His main task right now is to win over a fanbase that doesn't believe in his ability and doesn't want him in Turin to begin with. That means winning matches, both in Italy and Europe, and not doing anything that could further upset the fans.
Selling Vidal would not sit well with the Bianconeri ultras. Selling him to Liverpool, of all clubs, would effectively be a giant middle finger to every Bianconeri fan out there.
Reds fans don't need to be reminded of the Heysel Stadium disaster, via CNN's John Sinnott, but what they perhaps don't realise is that to this day many Juventus fans are still raised to hate Liverpool with a passion.
They made that very clear in 2005, when a large portion of their fans literally turned their backs on a memorial banner Reds fans had made, per The Guardian's Paul Kelso:
The most powerful statement on a night of intense emotion came shortly before the first Liverpool-Juventus match in 20 years had begun. A group of supporters from both clubs approached the 2,600 Italian fans at the Anfield Road End carrying a banner bearing the words Memoria e amicizia, in memory and friendship.
It was a gesture intended to express regret and sorrow but it was met with a devastatingly eloquent response. As the banner moved forward, watched from the centre circle by Phil Neal, Michel Platini and Ian Rush, all of whom had played at Heysel, the front 10 rows simply turned their backs. They did so again moments later when Anfield stood for a minute's silence and supporters on the Kop displayed a mosaic repeating the sentiment, Amicizia .
Allegri may very well be forced into a sale of his most prized midfield asset, but at this point in time, with his popularity at an all-time low, he simply can't afford to alienate the fanbase even further.
Unless Vidal makes it clear he would prefer a transfer move to Liverpool over any other option and the Reds make the kind of offer Juventus can't refuse, it just can't happen.