Ernesto Valverde has warned Arturo Vidal’s suitors that he continues to count on the midfielder, despite reports strongly linking Manchester United and Inter Milan with a move for the Chilean.
The much-travelled South American star has found first-team opportunites hard to come by at the Nou Camp this season, having been restricted to just 21 appearances so far, with many of these coming off the bench.
It has been reported for weeks that Antonio Conte’s side headed the queue to sign the Chilean on loan with option to buy for a total €15million.
However, amid claims that Barcelona were holding out for €20million, Chilean television station DirecTV said United have suddenly jumped into the race for Vidal and have made Barca a better offer than the one on the table from Inter.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had apparently offered €20million upfront, as United look for cover for the injured Scott McTominay and want-away star Paul Pogba.
And amid reports a dispute over a missing payment owed to him by Barca could force his departure in January, Valverde has spoken out to insist he still wants Vidal to stay at the Nou Camp despite interest in his services from Inter Milan and United.
“I’ve talked to Arturo Vidal like I have the others,” Valverde said.
“He’s here. For now, I’m counting on him and I’m not thinking about the future.
“We’ll see what happens, but I’m not thinking about his departure. He’ll be on the pitch or on the bench on Thursday [vs Atletico Madrid].”
According to the Manchester Evening News, while Solskjaer is keen to bolster his midfield, Vidal, at this stage of the window, is not one of the club’s priority signings.
Furthermore, United could well find themselves slipping behind Inter again in the race to sign him after reports in Italy stated Inter were willing to match United’s apparent offer and had offered him an increase in wages to his pay packet at Barca.