First it was Arturo Vidal and then it was Juan Cuadrado. Friday proved to be a bad day for Manchester United in their quest to sign top-class players this summer.
Juventus midfielder Vidal publicly made it clear that he will not leave the Italian champions with a single tweet, and soon after coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed that the Chilean will start against Chievo in their Serie A opener on Saturday (click here to read more).
And on the very same day, Fiorentina announced that star winger Juan Cuadrado will stay with the team this season.
‘I can say with certainty Cuadrado is staying’, Football Italia quotes club owner Andrea Della Valle as saying. ‘It's a big present for the city. I hope it's the strongest Viola of the Della Valle era’.
‘I am happy, very happy indeed that Cuadrado is staying with us’, coach Vincenzo Montella told reporters. ‘Juan is an important player for this club’.
United have been interested in both Vidal and Cuadrado, but it appears that they may have left it too late or unable to come to an agreement with Juventus and Fiorentina.
But have they really missed out on the duo? Or did Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal suspect right from the start that he would be unable to sign the duo?
Perhaps the Dutchman was truly keen on Chilean star Vidal, whom he had admired when the 27-year-old was at Bayer Leverkusen. Perhaps the former Colo-Colo star will be more missed by Van Gaal.
True, United have been chasing Cuadrado since the 2014 World Cup, but they have already signed a similar and arguably better player in Angel di Maria for a whooping transfer fee of £59.7 million.
Although playing Di Maria and Colombia international star Cuadrado in the same team would be mouth-watering, spending another £40m on a winger may not be justified.
However, missing out on Vidal could prove to be costly for United. One of the best midfielders in the world, the Chilean would have cost £40m and could have made the Red Devils a real force and enhanced their chances of finishing in the top four of the Premier League, maybe even win the title.
But do United still have a chance of signing Vidal, or Cuadrado – or maybe both – before Monday’s deadline? Could the players have a change of heart? Could their clubs accept late bids?
Let’s wait and watch.
Is there still time for Manchester United to sign another world-class player?