Manchester United have conceded that Arturo Vidal will not be joining their cause this summer and Louis van Gaal will revive Dutch links to land the signatures of Nigel de Jong and Daley Blind.
According to the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t the Press Association, via The Guardian), Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta has cleared any notion of the Chilean leaving Turin this summer:
All the requirements are there for Vidal not to leave before the end of the transfer market. The contract extension he signed has made more solid the marriage between Juve and Vidal. Vidal has always said he wanted to stay here and we are more than happy to keep him.
The extension Marotta speaks of was only signed in December of last year, leaving the Serie A title holders in no rush to sell unless Vidal himself seeks a move away.
However, the Chilean international has been relaxed regarding his position all summer long, and the Sunday Times' Jonathan Northcroft adds that Van Gaal isn't targeting his services:
Di Maria very high price but fits LVG profile of young(ish), team-orientated, dynamic player. Wanted a left-sided CM. Vidal not on LVG list.— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) August 23, 2014
It's well founded that United require extra muscle in central midfield, though, and the former Netherlands national team coach is alleged to be nearing a move for Oranje anchor De Jong.
Metro reports that both he and Blind could move to Old Trafford and reunite with the manager who led them both to a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup, a deal ESPN's Musa Okwonga sees as being an affordable and smart alternative:
Too much talk of Di Maria-type purchases when Nigel de Jong-type buys would be cheaper and a better fit for what #mufc need.— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) August 22, 2014
It's been alleged by Goal.com (h/t Ben Jefferson of the Express) that Milan's midfield general could arrive for just £8 million, a fraction of the fee that would be needed to bring Vidal to the club and a valuable deal given their need for new faces in that area.
Van Gaal's need for recruits is even more dire after injuries have again become problematic at Old Trafford. The tactician is quoted by the official Manchester United website as being disappointed with the squad's overall condition:
We have seven injuries, so that is a lot. In my career as a trainer-coach, we've never had seven injuries in my selection, and the last game it was nine, so we are progressing! But okay, seven injuries, plus Fellaini who has an ankle problem, so we'll have to wait and see because [on Saturday] he'll have a scan. It is always better to do that after two or three days and not at once. I cannot say anything about that - but he is injured, yes
Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick are also among those on the absentee list, which has made the need for midfield additions all the more serious.
Blind is primarily a left-back and played the wing-back role at this summer's World Cup, although he can play in the middle of the park, too.
Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw have already been signed from Sporting Lisbon and Southampton, respectively, giving Van Gaal options on the left side of his defence.
However, as of last week, Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News said a move was not close:
Spoken to Daley Blind's camp today and they insist they haven't had any contact with Man United. Still time, but nothing yet #MUFC— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) August 18, 2014
That being said, with only a week now left in the summer transfer window, circumstances may have changed for the Red Devils, with a move now seemingly soon to materialise.
Blind's acquisition would give the manager another versatile option capable of playing at the back and in midfield as he looks to mould a new-look Manchester United.
It's long been foretold that Van Gaal would ultimately look to his countrymen for reinforcements this summer, and as the summer days tick down, the arrivals of De Jong and Blind could prove that to be the case.