Man United Target Arturo Vidal: Here's Why He's A Future Ballon d'Or Winner

Brilliant in the tackle, great passer, scores goals and is the heartbeat of Juve. Would there be any point in him moving to Manchester United?
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Manchester United have been regularly linked with a bank-emptying move for Vidal, but with him believed to only want to leave Juve to win the Champions League is Old Trafford really the place? Here's why he'd improve any side in the world...

Juventus have built their dominance of Italian football over the last two seasons around a relentless team effort sprinkled with individual brilliance.

The likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli have provided the physical backbone while Andrea Pirlo and Mirko Vucinic have supplied the touches of class but one player more than any other has combined both and that is Arturo Vidal.

Signed from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen for €10.5m two years ago, the Chilean was meant to provide the terrier-like running in midfield to free up Pirlo to provide the panache from the centre of midfield and for a time he did just that becoming the side’s main ball-winner, winning on average nearly six tackles a game which was more than anyone else in Serie A.

However, the 26-year-old not only bounded up and down the pitch and pounded opponents but he displayed touches of elegance and proved he had an eye for goal, scoring seven times as Juventus qualified for the Champions League following their fallow years in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal.

Since then the all-action Vidal has gone from strength to strength and more than anything his scoring feats have really caught the eye: 13 last season and the same tally already this campaign in all competitions including a hat-trick against Copenhagen in the Champions League.

No other Juve midfielder has scored so many goals since Rui Barros netted 12 back in the 1988-89 season but the diminutive Portuguese carried out most of his work further up the pitch and was rarely seen back helping out in defence.

In short, Vidal has galvanised the Old Lady and has focused his energies in becoming the all-round player and new team-leader in Antonio Conte’s all-conquering side. Standing at 1.75 and weighing in at around 72kg, Vidal  has all the right attributes to play for any club in the world combining mobility, agility and versatility along with technical and physical proficiency in equal measure.

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He is not likely to buckle under pressure either as demonstrated by his confidence from the penalty spot where he has taken over duties from the Pirlo and Vuninic, dispatching his spot-kicks with deadly accuracy into the top corner of the net.

It is this steely approach in every aspect of his game that has earned Vidal the nickname “the Warrior” and his total commitment to the team ethic has seen him buy into Conte’s ethos where physical attributes and a combative style are held in either regard compared to possession football and playing neat passes.

“Vidal embodies what I want for from my players,” claimed the coach. “That’s why I want him in my team every time.”

It has been hard to keep Vidal out of the side and even when he reported back late from international duty ahead of the crucial Serie A clash with Fiorentina, Conte’s only punishment was to drop him to the bench where any other player would have been left out of the squad completely.

Tellingly, Juve lost on that day even though Vidal came on when the Viola had hauled themselves back into the game but that has been the only time when his influence has been wanting. There was also the disappointment of elimination from the Champions League at the group stages but overall, Vidal’s trajectory has been upwards.

His most recent exploits came against Roma at the weekend where he opened the scoring in the top of the table clash and totally eclipsed Kevin Strootman – the player who is probably the most similar in style – as the defending champions ran out 3-0 winners against their closest rivals.

Even in hard-to-please Italy where praise is hard-won he is being termed a fuoriclasse – a world-class performer. It was no surprise that the champions tied him to new contract until 2017 at the beginning of December.

However, with Juve seemingly having little competition to deal with on the domestic front the biggest battle will be to keep up with Vidal’s desire and drive to win the Champions League and with it the Ballon d’Or.

Follow Richard on Twitter, @RichWman