Speculation over the past few weeks was that Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal had left the door open for a possible move from Italian champions Juventus. The player had been linked with moves to Manchester United and Real Madrid in recent months.
But following today’s comments from Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta, that door has effectively been slammed shut.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the official said: “Vidal is fine, he has started training again and his knee is working as normal again.”
“He is still available for the team, there is always the same speculation about him. He was never put up for sale and there have never been any negotiations for him.
“They are the usual media rumors that are apart from reality.”
At one point, the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that Vidal’s agent Fernando Felicevich had spoken with United and agreed in principle a deal worth £182,000-a-week; which would have brought his annual earnings to nearly £9.5 million
But no formal bid had ever been reported between the two clubs.
It appeared the reports had shaken some of Vidal’s teammates at Juventus, as his midfield partner Paul Pogba even expressed his concern over the Chile international’s future in Turin.
“We’re hearing that Vidal is going but we don’t know,” Pogba said. “For the moment he’s injured, he’s trying to get fit. We want him to stay at Juventus. At the moment he’s here so we won’t speak about him leaving.”
The rumors increased earlier this month when Vidal’s national team manager, Jorge Sampaoli, told the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio that United’s new manager Louis van Gaal wanted the midfielder, but had reservations about his fitness.
“United want Vidal but Van Gaal has doubts,” Sampaoli said. “Vidal was a great example during the World Cup in Brazil of not playing in the best of conditions. Manchester United want him, but what restrains his move to England for $80million is Van Gaal, who has doubts over his [knee] condition.”
When asked about Vidal during last Friday’s pre-match press conference, United’s manager responded: “I’ll discuss it with Ed Woodward [the executive vice-chairman] not with you.”
Speculation for most of the summer is that Juventus have been unwilling to discuss any deal involving Vidal. The club simply do not want the Chile international to leave.