Why Arturo Vidal will be Barcelona’s biggest hit since Neymar’s signing
Who can deny that FC Barcelona have been among the winners during the current transfer window? In a market that has not had many bombastic signings, Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Juventus aside, Los Blaugranas have certainly stood out for their activity. They already acquired Malcom, Clement Lenglet and completed the Artur signing, who was not expected to arrive until January next year.
Not happy with those moves, they also secured Arturo Vidal's services. The Chilean defensive midfielder spent the past few years playing for Bayern Munich, but newly-appointed manager Niko Kovac deemed him surplus to requirements. Los Blaugranas took advantage, beating Inter in the race to secure the two-time Copa America winner after a few days negotiating.
You can have the opinion you want on Vidal. Some might say he is problematic. Others suggest he will bring an unnecessary amount of drama into the team due to his history of off-the-pitch problems. Even some could point to the fact that he is not good enough to play for Barca anymore; while being past his prime. Well… whoever says that, you're wrong. Vidal will be the best signing Barca has made since they acquired Neymar back in 2013.
You might think that’s a stretch, but Vidal is widely considered as being amongst the best midfielders in the world, despite the fact he is already 31 years old. He won four league titles with Juventus and three more with Bayern Munich, so he knows what’s needed to win and is used to play under the pressure that means to feature for a top club. Plus, he has been quite open on his desire to win the UEFA Champions League. Barca gives him the best chance to do that.
We have not even touched the football side of things yet. It is not a secret that Los Blaugranas lack a midfielder with an imposing presence since Paulinho returned to the Chinese Super League. Andres Iniesta left. He needs replacing. But Vidal can be a decent replacement for both players… even if he is not as creative as Iniesta.
Much like Paulinho did last season, Vidal has the ability to both contain the opposition in midfield while also creating on the attacking end. And he can score, too. He was a reliable scoring in his Juventus days – when he operated in a more advanced role – and also with the Chilean national team. To date, Vidal has 24 goals in 100 caps with La Roja. That is a very high rate for a midfielder, let alone a central one.
As if that was not enough, Vidal also represents an upgrade over the current in-house options to fill the second spot in central midfield alongside Sergio Busquets. He is a more balanced player than Ivan Rakitic, is far better than Andre Gomes, and Arthur is still raw. By all accounts, the Chile international represents the better alternative for Ernesto Valverde.
Vidal will be the third Chilean player to represent Los Blaugranas in the last decade after Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo. And while both enjoyed decent degrees of success, there is a chance Vidal becomes the most impactful Chilean to ever don the Barca colours. He has enough talent and experience to do so.