In another strange summer move, FC Barcelona have signed Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich. Barca’s move for the box-to-box midfielder is supposed to be a replacement for Paulinho. Though, after watching Vidal’s deterioration over the last two seasons, it’s fair to wonder if Barcelona may have bitten off more than they can chew.
Vidal Leaves Bayern for Barcelona
How Good is He
Arturo Vidal has always been a player that took a lot of risks. Whether it was at Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus or Bayern, there tended to be a Jekyll and Hyde feel to Vidal. He can produce some incredible performances as he has many times in the past. His performance against Real Madrid in the 2014/15 Champions League for Juve comes to mind, along with big-time moments for Chile in their back to back Copa America wins.
But lately Vidal has tended to have more bad in him than good. His descent seemed to start with his awful performance again against Madrid in the Champions League, which included getting sent off at the Bernabeu for Bayern in 2017. Since then he has turned in some awful performances both in the Bundesliga and for Chile. This move comes in part because he lost his starting place though poor performance.
What Barcelona Needs
But for Barca, he could still have a positive impact. If he fills the Paulinho role from last season; a spot starter, usually off the bench to add dynamism to the midfield, then he could help. Manager Ernesto Valverde has said he wants to return to Barcelona’s historic 4-3-3 system and adding Vidal adds a lot of athleticism missing from the Barca midfield.
Barcelona’s fans may have prefered another Bayern midfielder, but Valverde’s imprint is all over this signing. He was unhappy with the departure of Paulinho, according to Sid Lowe, in spite of the price. Paulinho was integral in his system but for that much money an easy decision to sell.
Now he gets his Paulinho replacement in Vidal. Twelve months ago the Paulinho signing was a joke, the signing of Vidal now might be met with the same scepticism. Whether or not that scepticism will be silenced will come down to Vidal.
Will he be a little less rash in his challenges? Will he stay within the system like he did with Pep Guardiola or will he adlib too much like he did under Carlo Ancelotti? Hopefully, the chance to play with Lionel Messi for trophies will be enough to keep him in check. That’s Barcelona’s biggest bet with this signing, one they hope will pay off.