Manchester United want to add Ogbonna and vie for Juve’s Vidal
Manchester United, Coral’s 12/1 third-favourites for the Premier League title, are preparing to launch a £51m double deal in the winter window for Juventus pair Angelo Ogbonna and Arturo Vidal.
Previous Red Devils interest in Chile box-to-box midfielder Vidal, 27, has been widely reported, but now the British and Italian press claim Louis van Gaal is keen to add Italy international defender Ogbonna, 26, to bolster his rearguard.
United have kept just two clean sheets in all competitions this term, conceding 13 goals in seven matches. A number of senior players at the back, namely Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, left Old Trafford this summer and replacing them is a priority, according to many commentators.
Van Gaal drafted in Argentine left-footer Marcos Rojo off the back of his defensive exploits at the World Cup, but Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all struggled for form and fitness. Academy graduates Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have received first-team exposure, but they lack experience.
Injuries to ageing centre back Andrea Barzagli and versatile Uruguay international Martin Caceres have given Ogbonna, who crossed the Turin divide to join Juve last summer, the chance to impress under much-maligned manager Massimiliano Allegri.
The Old Lady have certainly done that defensively as they are yet to concede a goal in any competition ahead of their Champions League trip to Spanish champions Atletico Madrid. Under Allegri, Ogbonna has thus formed a fearsome triumvirate at the back with Italy regulars Giorgio Chiellini, a long-term Red Devils target, and Leonardo Bonucci.
Vidal, meanwhile, is not long back from injury himself, but bagged a brace in Juventus’ recent home win over newly-promoted Serie A side Cesena. The midfield diamond formation Van Gaal has started using at United looks tailor-made for this outstanding all-rounder.
A bid for both Ogbonna and Vidal in January could give the Red Devils the physicality, guile and bite they need in their spine to rediscover success. Odds of 6/1 say they can go on to win the FA Cup this season.