For the second time this summer, Barcelona has hijacked the transfer of a player heading to Serie A. First is was Malcolm, who was literally almost on the plan heading to Rome and AS Roma.
Now it is Arturo Vidal who seemed destined to join Inter Milan before Barca swooped in and convinced him to move to the Camp Nou instead. The transfer fee is reported to be €30 million.
Barcelona have already spent more than £100m this summer on deals for the French defender Clément Lenglet and the Brazilian duo Arthur and Malcom and had been in negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain over a move for Adrien Rabiot. But the French champions’ unwillingness to allow the 23-year-old to leave Parc des Princes has seen them turn their attention to Vidal.
It appears then that Barcelona view Vidal as the alternative to Rabiot. With Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic likely to play most games in Barcelona’s midfield two next season, Vidal represents a very good depth option.
This past season at Bayern Munich, Vidal played just 22 games in the Bundesliga, so he is used to be a good option when players are injured/out of form/ in need of a rest.
Vidal is an all-round midfielder, good in both boxes and technically gifted. He has scored goals wherever he has played and would fit into the Barcelona style of play.
Ultimately, Vidal however represents a short-term answer to a long-term problem for Barcelona as they are in desperate need of replacing Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The Paulinho and Andre Gomes signings have not worked out and there is no natural successor to Iniesta at the club. Vidal, at the age of 31, does not represent a long-term plan for Barcelona as they likely would not seek to keep him beyond his early 30s.
At a price of around £30 million, Barcelona would hope to get two or three seasons out of Vidal and hope that by then, they have a new star midfielder through either their academy or transfer business.
Fans of the Catalan club could be alarmed that this signing does not represent a step forward in quality but if Barcelona cannot attract Rabiot or a young midfielder of his quality, then Vidal is a good secondary option.