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Barcelona’s plea to Arturo Vidal to stay may have come too late

The midfielder is an Inter Milan target

Espanyol V Barcelona Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

He may not be every culers cup of tea, but there’s little doubt what Arturo Vidal brings to the current Barca side.

Some players have been routinely questioned because of their lack of commitment to the cause, of not busting a gut to track back and because of seemingly pulling out of tackles.

Gerard Pique against Atleti would be one such case in point for the latter.

Vidal on the other hand is completely the opposite. A whirling dervish of a midfielder, age has not wearied him, and for all of Barca’s intricate passers, sometimes a battering ram is needed to tear down the walls.

Like Paulinho before him, the Chilean enjoys putting his foot in and doing the donkey work, but derives just as much pleasure from arriving late into the box and powering home.

His ire at being consistently used as a substitute during 2019/20 is therefore somewhat understandable. Not to mention a perceived non-payment of a bonus that the player believes he is owed.

Both Inter Milan and Manchester United are believed to be waiting in the wings, ready to sign Vidal at a moment’s notice.

Figures in the region of €12-€17m have been bandied around in the media, but even if Barca were interested in doing business - they aren’t - at least €25m would need to be put on the table for them to reconsider.

On the way to Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup, Vidal was, apparently, approached by president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who, along with senior pros, begged the player to stay until the end of the season at least.

With Carles Alena already having left for Betis, and upset a number of supporters in the process after suggesting he would go to Real Madrid if they offered him regular football, as well as Jean-Clair Todibo likely to be sent packing somewhere on loan, the loss of Vidal would hit the team hard.

If Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong remain injury free, Ernesto Valverde might just be able to get around the Chilean’s absence, but if the scenario remains where one or the other is out, then Barca are in trouble in that area of the pitch.

Sergio Busquets has never been the quickest of players but is slowing further, whilst Ivan Rakitic doesn’t quite have the dynamism of years past. Riqui Puig could be given a shot, but at this juncture that’s unlikely to happen too.

For any number of reasons, Vidal must stay. But Barca’s plea to him might just have come too late...

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