Manchester United brought in seven players over the summer for an accumulated transfer fee of up to £160 million, but that could have been a lot more if they had followed through with their initial interest in Atletico Madrid star Arda Turan.
The Turkish international midfielder scored the winner against city-rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, though for much of the summer in the Spanish capital it appeared he was destined to leave.
According to the Spanish publication El Confidencial, Turan was swayed by United’s interest and a deal looked to be on until the Red Devils refused to pay his €40 million release clause.
“At the end of the season, the player admitted to his teammates his desire to leave the team. From the technical staff to the public area they were forceful about it - the only way out was paying the €40 million clause contained in his contract.”
“It was a figure that Manchester United, the leading candidate to gain his services, were not willing to pay. In the end, Arda had to do with the idea that his immediate future is to continue wearing the red and white until next summer.”
Turan, 27, is approaching his peak years as a professional football and his ability and importance to Atletico Madrid is evident, therefore the big question is – will United regret not signing him?
Given the money spent at Old Trafford this summer, it appears the figure of his release clause wasn’t so much the problem, but more his necessity in Van Gaal’s potential future plans.
Renowned for his ball control, dribbling skills and vision, Turan operates mainly at left midfield and was influential in Los Colchoneros La Liga title success last season, scoring three goals and assisting a further four in 30 appearances.
A technical left midfielder, however, is a position which appears non-existent in Van Gaal’s tactical handbook as his two Argentine imports Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria operate in a similar area of the field but with different attributes attiring to a completely different role.
Pace and frightening counterattacking play is the name of game, a style not suited to the technical brilliance and rugged defensive work offered by the former Galatasary idol. If there was ever a player former boss David Moyes needed, Turan was it.
There is no denying that Turkey’s finest player of this generation has got what’s needed to be a success at Old Trafford, but with huge regret, ultimately his face doesn’t seem to fit in the new direction the club is heading.