Arturo Vidal was one of the world’s most in-demand midfielders last summer.
He had clubs all around the world keeping an eye on a potential move but it Bayern Munich, eventually who won the race, and ended up paying a whopping £28m for his services.
Vidal described the move as a “dream come true” and he has performed strongly for Munich since making the transfer to Germany.
But at the time, it was Manchester United who were fiercely trying to sign the Chilean international as they tried to lure Vidal to Old Trafford. But seven months on, Vidal – who reportedly rejected them – will no doubt be delighted with his choice to leave for Germany rather than Manchester.
“I wanted to come to a team this strong and to a project this ambitious,” he said recently – a blow to United and their transfer ambitions.
It only goes to show just how far United have fallen in the transfer pecking order. Only a decade ago, if Sir Alex Ferguson or one of his coaching staff wanted a player to sign for the club, they would always get their man.
Fast-forward a few years and United are desperately playing second-fiddle to some of their European opponents.
But these days its important to point out that United’s European rivals aren’t Real Madrid or Barcelona, they’re FC Midtjylland of Denmark. Of course, United are competing in the Europa League which definitely comes second in stature to the Champions League.
And even in these games they’re struggling. They lost the first leg of their tie with the Danes last week and were widely criticised for their poor performance. Louis Van Gaal would have been desperate for a player of Vidal’s quality to help win games like these, but unfortunately with United performing as poorly as they are right now, they can’t attract the world-beaters anymore.
Why on earth would someone of Vidal’s quality go to a side that are living on past successes and so out of their depth they can’t even progress smoothly in the Europa League? Premier League title hopes are pretty much out of the window, making Old Trafford an undesirable location for any potential transferee right now.
I’m sure when United do undoubtedly get down to transfer business players in their press conferences will say: ‘I’ve come here to win trophies and silverware.’ That’s all fine and dandy until you look at the squad. It’s full of second-string names who wouldn’t even touch the substitute benches of most of their European rivals.
And that is the difference. The ability to attract world class talent starts on the pitch and United’s failures blatantly show how bad it has been for the majority of the season.
Would Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata or Chris Smalling get on the Bayern Munich team-sheet? Absolutely not and that’s why Vidal went. He knew competition for places would be tough and this would ultimately make him a better player.
Yes he would have waltzed into the United team but he would have also waltzed into a sinking ship.