Juventus appear to be on the verge of selling Arturo Vidal to Bayern Munich for £28 million. The Chilean has been a vital part of the Old Lady's first team for the last four years, but it's not necessarily a bad piece of business. At 28 and with his knees in questionable health, Juve are going to make as much money on Vidal now as they ever will. Replacing him with a younger player would not only make financial sense, but within a season or two they'd also reap a sporting reward.
According to the website of the usually-reliable Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, Schalke's Julian Draxler is the man they've identified as Vidal's replacement. He notes that while "there is a €45 million exit clause in his contract, his recent injuries could allow Juventus to close the deal for between €15 and €20 million." One of his staff writers has since clarified that Juve are yet to approach Schalke directly, but the interest seems to be concrete.
Why it makes sense
Perhaps most obviously, Schalke 04 look willing to sell, and for pretty cheap. Just a couple of years ago he was widely regarded as one of Europe's top prospects, though a disappointing, injury-plagued campaign has seen his price slashed to what would have looked a bargain not long ago. If they really can get a deal done for less than €20 million, it'd probably be worth the risk. If they can get Draxler back on track, they could make a big profit in a few years.
In addition, Juventus have made no secret of their desire to sign a No. 10 this summer. Max Allegri seems unlikely to switch from his 4-3-1-2 formation, and the loss of Vidal would mean they've currently only got Roberto Pereyra as a natural player in that role. Draxler is not only a better creative talent than Pereyra, but he'd add much-needed depth. Sure, he's not as versatile as Vidal, and could be uncomfortable being dropped into the midfield three, but with Sami Khedira having arrived from Real Madrid, that probably wouldn't be necessary.
Why it doesn't make sense
If Vidal is sold, it's possible that Juve may want to make an even more ambitious signing than Draxler, though it would be difficult to lure the likes of Isco or Mario Götze away from their current clubs.
Draxler has also spent more of his time on the wing than in the center of the pitch over the last couple of seasons, mostly because of Meyer's emergence. It could still, ultimately, be his best position, but it's possible that Juventus see him as a wide option in a different formation as well.
One potential stumbling block if they did turn to Draxler could be Schalke demanding a higher fee than Di Marzio has suggested, but with Max Meyer looking ever more the real deal and Xherdan Shaqiri likely to arrive in Gelsenkirchen from Inter Milan, it seems a deal could be done if Juve want it.
Likelihood it happens
This deal seems like it would work for everyone involved. Juventus get a shiny young talent who could blossom into a great, and Schalke get to make some reasonably good money on a player that they'll struggle to fit into the first team with Meyer emerging and Shaqiri arriving. Still, it seems to be at a very early stage of negotiations (if it's reached the negotiation phase at all), so let's guess at a 6/10 chance of it happening.
This is a post from our transfer rumors section. For news, analysis and more, check out the main SB Nation Soccer page.