They say one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure, and in the case of the summer transfer window, it’s football clubs from around the world that go through such a whirlwind of emotions.
Being such a monumental force in the world game, Manchester United usually enjoy the brighter side of transfers, and the build-up to the 2014/15 campaign has been no different.
With Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera making the switch to Old Trafford, the Red Devils suddenly have their optimism back, but they’re not quite finished yet.
It seems as if the saga of Juventus’ Arturo Vidal has been dragging on for a generation now, but such are the stipulations of the move that it’s bound to take time.
The Chile international was one of Juventus’ standout performers during their title-winning campaign of 2013/14, putting together endless dynamic displays in the club’s formidable midfield.
While defensive-minded, Vidal proved that he can also produce the goods at the business end of the pitch—grabbing 11 league goals and providing five assists, according to WhoScored.com.
Juventus have rather dominated Italian football since the turn of the decade, but how they’d cope without Vidal should the midfielder move to Old Trafford has come under question of late.
While Juventus are blessed with a wealth of central midfield talent, the spark that Vidal brings to the fold is tough to replace, and Inter Milan’s Mateo Kovacic told La Gazzetta dello Sport that the Chilean would be sorely missed if he departs, via Ben Gladwell of ESPN FC:
“If Vidal leaves, then they are going to have lost a lot. Arturo is a top player and there are not many central midfielders capable of scoring 10-15 goals and providing 10 assists per season. He's a complete player.”
A complete player he most certainly is, but when you take a look at the other options in Juventus’ midfield, the Italian giants’ outlook doesn’t seem so bleak.
The fine wine that is Andrea Pirlo is still dominating games at the age of 35, while the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Simone Padoin can also do a job alongside him keeping play ticking over—that’s without even mentioning French sensation Paul Pogba.
Vidal’s place in the side last season meant that Pogba had to adopt a more cautious approach, but with the Chile star out of the picture, he can truly flourish in the attacking role.
That’s something that new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri plans to do, too, revealing during the club’s pre-season tour of Indonesia that he wants to push the Frenchman forward—per Joe Ridge of the Daily Mail:
“I will try to use Pogba more in attack. He is one of the best young players in the world, with enormous technical and physical qualities. Having said that, there is also still plenty of room for improvement.”
Vidal being away from Turin may just aid Pogba on his quest for improvement, and shaping the team around the 21-year-old could see the Old Lady become even stronger.
While Juventus’ side would likely cope without Vidal, it seems that Manchester United capturing the 27-year-old is imperative in their bid to become English football’s overlords once again.
Though United faltered all over the pitch under David Moyes last term, central midfielder was particularly concerning.
The chances of individual performances getting better just because of new manager Louis van Gaal are nil, and it was no surprise to see the Dutchman bring in the highly rated Herrera in the transfer window.
The 24-year-old is as versatile a midfielder as they come, accepting defensive responsibilities while also having the injection of quality going forward—as Guillem Balague revealed:
Herrera can play as number 10 or centre mid, a 'volante', right or left of the defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3. Clever guy anyway— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 26, 2014
What he ideally needs is a player alongside him that adopts a similar, dynamic approach—someone like Vidal.
While Carrick, Fellaini and Fletcher have proven to be useful players in the past, there’s very little chance of them being the first names on Van Gaal’s team sheet, and a new, central midfield era simply has to begin at Old Trafford.
Vidal is the ideal candidate to lead the revolution with Herrera, but if United can’t find a way to clinch his signature, it could be another long season for the Red Devils.