Sunday 18 March 2018

Arsenal trump Manchester United in race for Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal

Juventus' Arturo Vidal
Juventus' Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal, the Juventus midfielder, appears set to join Arsenal this summer after reports in Chile claim the 28-year-old has signed a deal with the north Londoners.

The Chile international, who is currently at the Copa America, is a highly rated box-to-box midfielder and is understood to have interested several Premier League clubs, including Manchester United.

However, despite United's interest in Vidal, it now looks like the player will join Arsenal who have agreed a £21 million deal for the player, according to Chilean newspaper La Stampa.

Vidal has spent three seasons with Juventus and although he is highly-rated in Turin, the club need to sell before adding to their squad. After already signing Sami Khedira any money from the Vidal deal is understod to be earmarked for a bid on Bayern Munich's Mehdi Benatia.

Freddie Ljungberg, the former Arsenal midfielder, has welcomed the news saying that Vidal is "a great player" who can link up with compatriot Alexis Sánchez and help the north Londoners end their wait for a genuine push for the title.

“There [are] some rumours about Vidal, a great player, and he gets fuming if he loses the ball, so I like that," Ljungberg told Swedish publication Sport360°. "That kind of player would be great for the club.

“I hope they can challenge for the Premier League title. I think in one or two years we’ll have a squad that’s going to compete with anyone. With one or two signings here and there, we can get a stronger squad. We’re getting there and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years.

The La Stampa report claims that the deal will be announced next week.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have stepped up the bid to bolster their defence after opening talks with Rahman Baba, the Augsburg full-back, according to reports.

Baba's displays for Ghana at the African Cup of Nations this year earned widespread praise. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City have watched him for over two years, while Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Bayern Munich have all been alerted to the 20-year-old's talent.

Klaus Hofmann, the Augsburg president, said earlier this month: "We will certainly not sell Baba for €20m. We are a perfectly healthy club, Baba is one of the top talents in the world. Anyone who wants to offer us a number like €20m, they can save the cost of the call."

However, Bild, the German newspaper, have claimed that the player's agent has travelled to London for negotiations with the Arsenal hierarchy.

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