Discussing Arturo Vidal and Manchester United: Good fit for one, not the other 4

Arturo Vidal and Manchester United is a link that just won’t go away, and every time there’s a lull in transfer reporting it seems to come back.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sold yet - maybe Vidal moves to Old Trafford at some point in his career, but to do so now would be to spend a year out of the Champions League - and he doesn’t have to do that.

Hypothetically, though, if he was to leave Juventus then are Manchester United an attractive proposition?

Superficially, yes.  Louis Van Gaal is the kind of manager who most elite players would want to work with and, of course, the Premier League is a very visible, competitive, and lucrative league.  United could certainly attract him, but from a pure footballing standpoint he would probably be given a more one-dimensional role in the first-eleven.

Vidal is a proper central-midfielder.  His attributes are very balanced and he offers a side as much without the ball as he does with it.  If Manchester United are interested, then it would presumably be on the basis that Michael Carrick is getting older and Van Gaal wants to import a more dynamic defensive-midfielder to replace him.  Ander Herrera has been bought specifically to bridge the gap between the defensive and attacking parts of the midfield, and so Vidal would presumably be used behind him.

That’s fine, and the Chilean would doubtless be excellent in the position, but that role really wouldn’t maximise his ability.  At Juventus, he typically plays in a midfield three with Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo, with the latter anchoring the unit and allowing the other two to be more progressive.  That’s the perfect environment for Vidal, because it allows a side to benefit from both sides of his game.

He would absolutely make Manchester United better and I’m certain that their hiatus from European football will be very brief, but it still wouldn’t feel like the best situation for him - and, from a showcase of talent perspective, would he not want to avoid a scenario which would have a reductive effect on his impact?

There are variables here, of course, and nobody can be certain that Van Gaal will continue with the existing midfield structure, but the United squad isn’t currently equipped to mimic the three-midfielder system that Juventus use - so the optimum role for Vidal doesn’t really exist at Old Trafford.

Stranger things have happened, though, and it’s probably right to give Van Gaal - the La Liga-winning, Bundesliga-winning, Eredivisie-winning Van Gaal - the benefit of the doubt.

Follow @premleagueowl

Latest for Squawka: How Liverpool can and will cope without Luis Suarez

Sabotage Times: Predicting an England line-up for 2016