Eric Abidal signed on as Barcelona’s Director of Football in June but he has hit the ground running with a series of moves. Assuming medicals pass without incident, five new players will have been signed and four have been sold with more departures a strong possibility.
The latest recruit (medical not withstanding) is Arturo Vidal, signed from Bayern Munich for a fee in the region of $30m.
The 31-year-old Chile international, who has signed a three-year deal with Barcelona, was about to enter the final year of his contract with Bayern Munich.
“On behalf of #FCBayern, I’d like to thank Arturo for three wonderful years. We celebrated many titles in this time, to which he made a significant contribution. He always turned up in important games and we could always rely on him,”- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
In simple terms, the signing is being portrayed as a replacement for Paulinho who returned to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande after just one season in Spain.
There are similarities in that both players are physically strong, play as box-to-box midfielders and have a healthy habit of scoring goals.
However, Arturo Vidal is not only a better player but he is also a more consistent one. The Chile international has an excellent passing range and outstanding stamina. To describe him as combative would be an understatement and with over 120 yellow cards and 5 red cards in around 450 club matches he is well known to the officials.
He is strong on the ball, holds the ball up well under pressure and is excellent in the air. Over his 400+ games for Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, and Bayern Munich he has scored at a clip of a goal every five games or so and it is likely he will hit the century mark this season.
One thing that is often overlooked is Vidal’s ability to play a number of positions. He can augment the defense and he has played as a forward when needed. If you were picking a five-a-side team he would be the first pick!
Over the last seven seasons with Juventus and Bayern Munich, Vidal has won the domestic championship each time along with an assortment of domestic cups.
One concern might be the number of injuries Vidal picked up last season. He missed 15 games after suffering a multitude of ailments and he finished up having to undergo knee surgery in April, although at the time it was described as a minor operation.