Louis Van Gaal's Vidal Hint No Coincidence with Man United in Need of Midfielder

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentAugust 25, 2014

Manchester United's manager Louis Van Gaal looks on ahead of their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Louis van Gaal hasn't wasted a word this summer.

He's spoken about his unhappiness at the length of the United States tour and Luke Shaw's fitness. 

He's been reserved in his praise of some players, enthusiastic about others. 

The Dutchman has given the impression of a man in control. From the training pitch to the dugout. And in his conversations with the press.

Asked by Sky Sports about United's pursuit of Angel Di Maria after the draw with Sunderland on Sunday, Van Gaal replied that it was not just the Argentinian winger he liked "but Lionel Messi and Arturo Vidal, also."

Jon Super/Associated Press

The Messi reference felt like a joke. But Vidal was an odd choice if he simply wanted to list the best players in the world. 

He could have said Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez. But he didn't. He chose Vidal.

Asked again about Di Maria in his press conference, Van Gaal, unprompted, name-dropped the Chilean midfielder for a second time. It didn't feel like a throw-away comment.

I cannot say anything about transfers and you have to understand that.

When a transfer is finished, then we say anything. But now you have to wait and see. If the moment is there Manchester United shall announce it.

But it is not only Di Maria. Maybe Vidal or Messi. We are a big club.

It was the second time Van Gaal has casually thrown a player's name into a conversation with journalists.

In an interview in Detroit this summer, carried by the Manchester Evening News, he mentioned Ronaldo and Di Maria. Again unprompted.

At this moment, we have five No.9s and four No.10s – and we don’t have wingers to give us attacking width.

Or, I should say, we don’t have wingers of the highest level, like Ronaldo or Di Maria or somebody like that.

With the benefit of time, it's now clear that Di Maria's name wasn't just plucked out of thin air.

There's no suggestion from United that the speculation surrounding Vidal is anything other than manoeuvring from the player and his representatives.

But to mention him after a game that had ended with Tom Cleverley and Adnan Januzaj in midfield, as United did against Sunderland, felt like more than just a coincidence.

VILLAR PEROSA, ITALY - AUGUST 20:  Arturo Vidal of Juventus FC attends during the pre-season friendly match between Juventus A and Juventus B on August 20, 2014 in Villar Perosa, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

It was clear, even before the draw at the Stadium of Light, that they still need a central midfielder. Even if Di Maria does arrive.

Vidal, meanwhile, would offer the physicality, energy and aggression they have missed against Swansea and Sunderland.

Van Gaal hasn't wasted a word this summer. There's no reason to think he's started now.

All quotes and information obtained first-hand.


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