After adding the effervescent attacking talents of Angel Di Maria to his squad, whispers emanating from the transfer market seem to suggest that Louis van Gaal is now looking to bring some defensive steel to his line-up.
And following United’s abject 4-0 surrender to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup, it’s plain to see that that’s the area the Dutchman must strengthen next if he is to plot United's ascension back to the pinnacle of the English game.
The Red Devils have long been linked with a move for Juventus’ wonderful combative midfielder Arturo Vidal, and we’ve got the very latest developments on his situation with the Bianconeri. In addition, United have also been reportedly looking at two other defensive players that would do plenty to alleviate their concerns at the back.
Here's the very latest on those potential incomings.
Vidal Going Nowhere, Says Manager
Despite months and months of lingering speculation regarding Vidal, the Chilean has taken to Twitter to insist he’s fully focused on the Italian champions’ start to the Serie A campaign.
Much intrigue has accompanied Juventus throughout the summer, not only because of the whirlwind of speculation surrounding United’s pursuit of their star midfielder, but due to the fact they’re set to begin life under new boss Massimiliano Allegri.
And he has insisted that Vidal is “fundamental” for Juventus and won’t be going anywhere, per Nadia Carminati of Sky Sports:
He's a fundamental player for Juve and he will stay with us, He feels good and is training.
His knee must be managed and he will start as a regular.
The new boss also seems to have the full support of his midfield general, as Vidal stated on social media that he is “Ready to start the championship! We are 100% Juventus !!!!!”, per Goal.com:
Listos para comenzar el campeonato! Al 100% vamos Juventus!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Rs1RyOm1Wh— Arturo Vidal (@kingarturo23) August 29, 2014
The Italian outfit have been unwavering in their insistence that Vidal is going nowhere throughout the window and although some outlets have reported that United would make one last attempt to bring the player to Old Trafford, per Paul Clennam of Goal.com, it’s a deal that looks to be getting increasingly unlikely for United.
Here’s why Vidal has been so keenly targeted by Van Gaal:
While getting the Chilean on board would be a stellar acquisition, with the transfer deadline fast approaching and the squad clearly in need of bolstering, perhaps at this late stage of the window Van Gaal would be better served looking at other more attainable targets.
Portuguese Star William Carvalho Lined Up
With any deal for Vidal seemingly stuttering, United have reportedly turned to the Sporting Lisbon man in an attempt to beef up their midfield options. That’s because according to ESPN, the Portuguese outfit have lowered their valuation of the player, prompting Van Gaal to step in.
If United were to acquire the services of Carvalho, they’d be getting a player that’s well equipped to add some bite to this team. The 22-year-old has shown in his relatively young career that he’s indomitably physical and brilliantly industrious. As such, he’d bring myriad qualities that are currently lacking in the Red Devils midfield.
Here’s a closer look at why United might feel obliged to get him on board:
But the club could be set to come in for some competition for Carvalho, with Portuguese newspaper O Jogo (h/t Sam Jordan of Squawka) insisting that it’s actually Arsenal that are closest to signing the player.
Daniel Taylor of The Guardian went one step further, claiming that nothing is happening when it comes to Vidal or Carvalho making the move to Old Trafford:
Latest info from #MUFC - and always reluctant to post these - is that there will be nothing happening with them and Vidal/Carvalho— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 29, 2014
Nonetheless, if United are dispirited in their pursuit of the Chilean, then Carvalho could be an excellent alternative. And if Sporting—a club the Red Devils have recently dealt with regarding transfers for Marcos Rojo and Nani—have lowered their demands, don’t be surprised to see Van Gaal make a late foray into the market for this fine young player.
United Agree Fee For Daley Blind
According to reports in Holland (h/t Matt Lawton of the Mail Online), the Red Devils and Ajax have settled on a £14 million fee for the utility man, with personal terms now needing to be agreed to complete the deal:
Am told Daley Blind to Manchester United is a done deal at around 18m Euro. More to follow on @MailSport— Matt Lawton (@Matt_Lawton_DM) August 29, 2014
Blind impressed throughout the World Cup with his excellent displays in a host of positions for Van Gaal’s Dutch side, and with the new Red Devils boss looking to implement a brand new system at Old Trafford, bringing in a player of Blind’s attributes can only help streamline this change.
Stylistically, Blind is somewhat understated and won’t typically catch the eye with his displays. But he’s a player that can assume a number of different roles and perform them astutely. He knows Van Gaal’s methods, knows what’s required to flourish in his setup and when you consider his rapid progression through the Ajax ranks, knows how to play the game in the right way.
Dutch Football Twitter account provides an insight into what United can expect from Blind should he join up:
Also to those saying why are Manchester United signing another left back! Daley Blind is not a left back! He is a versatile midfielder.— Dutch Football (@football_oranje) August 30, 2014
Every successful squad needs adaptable figures like Blind, and although the reported fee of £14 million may seem a little excessive for a player that’s yet to play in one of the blue-riband European leagues, should a deal go through, expect the versatile 24-year-old to become crucial to Van Gaal’s squad dynamic.