Manchester United entered the summer knowing upgrades in the midfield were essential to getting back on track after a frustrating campaign. Those efforts suffered a major setback following comments from Juventus star Arturo Vidal about his future.
The 27-year-old Chilean was viewed as a potential target for new manager Louis van Gaal. Instead, David Kent of the Daily Mail passed along comments from the midfielder that make it sound like a move to the club is not currently an option.
"I do not go to Manchester. Can I say I will remain with Juve? I don't know," he said. "I'll talk to [Massimiliano] Allegri on Monday and then we will see. I haven't spoken with Allegri or any of my teammates yet, but I'm not going to Manchester."
It's impossible to count anything out because the transfer window always brings about some wild storylines. Even definitive statements like that one are subject to change. Yet, at the very least, United's chances of landing him took a serious hit.
The remarks provide a serious blow to the club's hopes of completely retooling the midfield. Vidal represented exactly the type of player the Red Devils needed—somebody who was going to win battles in the center of the pitch and create chances for the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Sure, United can continue to scour the transfer market and possibly find a player who can fill a similar role. None of them will fill it the same way the Juventus standout would have, though.
As if the player's comments weren't enough, it also sounds like the Vecchia Signora brass have no interest in letting him get away.
Simone Bargellini and Nadia Carminati of Sky Sports provided the response from club executive Giuseppe Marotta when asked about Vidal potentially leaving.
"There is no reason for him to leave," he said. "I can confirm Vidal is happy to be with us and there's no reason for alarm. Nobody can doubt the quality of the player, nor how strong his bond is with Juventus."
In other words, it would take a pretty major about-face from both the player and the club for United to become serious contenders to sign him before the current window closes.
It's a disappointment for United and their supporters. They took one key step toward getting the midfield fixed by bringing in Ander Herrera; combining him with Vidal would have given the side stability in the middle they haven't enjoyed in recent years.
Vidal represents the tireless box-to-box midfielder most successful sides can rely on. A player that does all the little things necessary to help a team win, some that show up on the stat sheet and some that don't.
WhoScored.com noted one number that showcases his value via Twitter:
Would his addition be enough to immediately make United title favorites again? Probably not, but he surely would make them far more competitive against other top-tier clubs.
It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks whether the Red Devils continue their pursuit, with hopes Vidal will change his mind, or start looking in a new direction. Perhaps they will hedge their bets by keeping tabs on the Chile international while starting research on others.
What Van Gaal and Co. can't afford to do is let other opportunities slip away while waiting on him. It definitely doesn't sound like there's an imminent deal available, if there's one at all.
Vidal could be a perfect fit at Old Trafford. Unfortunately for United, it doesn't sound like an avenue he wants to explore at this point.