Vidal committed to Juve ... for now
Juventus will forever argue that Arturo Vidal was never on the market.
A player who has injured his knee, was forced to play the World Cup despite having not fully recovered and was sitting on the bench for friendlies with an ice pack -- is he really a midfielder a team ought to splash the cash on and was Manchester United's interest ever real?
To the naysayers, there will always be an excuse as to why Juve's machine in midfield is not a man worth much over 40 million euros. For one thing, he's 27 and won't have much resale value. Defined by his energy and willingness to run incessantly, he possesses qualities that age sadly destroys, while the knee injury remains a cause for concern, both on a sporting and psychological level. Will he really recover fully?
When purchasing a "star" player, one must also consider what a player can bring to the team off the pitch. Vidal is indeed one of, if not the most complete midfielder in Europe, but he's not a marketable player, nor is he one who will grab the attention of potential new fans or help grow the brand. As such, is he worth the expensive price tag?
There are legitimate reasons as to why prospective clubs are balking at his price, but for those who know and love him at Juventus -- Vidal is priceless. His intensity, his determination, his leadership skills, his winning mentality and his ability to do so much so well are largely the reason why the Italian giants have been successful in the past three years. He allows the likes of Andrea Pirlo's quality to shine, his finishing has masked the problems the club has faced in the final third, while his relentless running has aided a back line that lacks real pace.
Thankfully for the Bianconeri, it seems he's set to stay in Turin, at least for another year. Many analysts have opined that it's simply too late for the Old Lady to release their best player and find a suitable replacement before the transfer market closes; others insist his sale never even crossed management's minds. It did.
As for the knee, how serious is the injury? Much was said of the fact the Chilean sat on the sidelines in the "in house" friendly between the first team and their Primavera side with an ice pack on his knee -- an image he attempted to hide from the cameras. However, according to those at the club, the midfielder had simply finished a particularly strenuous workout earlier that day and was feeling sore. The player himself has attempted to alleviate the fans' concern by saying he is ready for the upcoming TIM trophy friendly tournament to played on Saturday, but others report that the player won't recover fully before the end of September.
Speaking of friendlies, we saw that the desire to win every match has not departed in the same way Antonio Conte did. In Villar Perosa, Carlos Tevez played with heart and the first team won 6-1 in what can only be described as a festival of football.
In a great atmosphere, the senior squad took advantage of the youngsters' exhaustion to demonstrate their superiority while the crowd cheered on Massimiliano Allegri. While the coach may not have learned too much about his side from this exercise, he was able to better assess the youngsters he feels he can develop into important players -- in particular Mattia Vitale, whom he took with him on the Asian tour.
Young yet highly competitive and hungry for success, Vitale is the one to watch. Chasing every ball, bursting with energy and seemingly mature, the midfielder impressed as he did against the Indonesia All Stars team. Considering the club's financial position and how much money they have invested into their youth, it's important Allegri takes notice of the starlets who are looking for any opportunity to fulfill their dreams.
Good clubs develop their talent, and Italians now more than ever need to rely on producing talent as opposed to simply purchasing it, no matter how little they pay.
As for the TIM trophy friendly tournament, Allegri wants to use the opportunity to test the four-man back line again. Facing Milan and Sassuolo, two clubs he once coached, the tactician wants to ensure his side can transform their shape seamlessly against two teams they will face this season. It may be only a friendly, but Allegri is already under pressure to continue Juve's winning run and show that he does, indeed, belong with the champions of Italy.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Minarzouki.