Just like Paulinho before him, the arrival of Arturo Vidal to Barcelona saw the board questioned on why such a purchase was being made. And that’s putting in politely!
According to swathes of culers at the time, the Chilean had no business being anywhere near Camp Nou apparently, but show me one person now that hasn’t changed their opinion of a player who always gave his all for the club.
The barometer of a good player isn’t necessarily skill set either. It’s application.
What Vidal didn’t have in terms of technical ability, he more than made up for with a combative nature and a desire to consistently work hard.
Some of his Barca colleagues could certainly have learned a thing or two from him in that regard.
Often maligned, Vidal never claimed to be anything other than what he was. A destroyer of reputations and opposition players if required.
Every team needs one. Even Barcelona.
With his move to Inter confirmed, it’s worth pondering on how much we could miss his battling qualities in the middle of the park.
Not to mention the way he linked with Messi and Suarez at times. Yes, he had nous and in-game intelligence in abundance too.
The midfield he’s left behind, whilst incredibly talented, doesn’t possess a player that will put their foot in when required.
For far too long, and before the arrivals of Paulinho and Vidal, Barca were seen as a soft touch in the centre of midfield in particular, and it exposed a weakness in the team.
Of course, in the Guardiola years, and the early part of Luis Enrique’s tenure, with the players that bit younger and therefore fitter, we were able to counter that with technical exponents of the highest quality.
We’re not at that level in midfield at this point.
Of course, getting some ‘Barca DNA’ back to the way in which the team play, and eventually allowing the youngsters to shine, might not be such a bad thing.
The lack of a marauding and rampaging Vidal changes the dynamic but perhaps not necessarily in a negative way.
Sergio Busquets, if he’s played regularly by Ronald Koeman, isn’t averse to the darker arts so may well take Vidal’s mantle.
Time will ultimately tell if the club have made the right decision of course. At 33 years of age Vidal was getting no younger, but he probably had another season in him at this level.
He’s earned our respect at least, and deserves to go with his head held high.