An energetic, dynamic and physical midfielder, Paulinho came to Barcelona last summer from China for 40 million euros. But his arrival was somewhat of a betrayal to the 'Barça style' – a game of total possession in which Xavi and Iniesta would numb opponents with hypnotic ball handling, before administering the deadly blow in the form of a cutting pass.
It is a game based on technique and intelligence, and not a display of physical strength. In the great Barça that we all remember, Paulinho would have been a Martian. However he came, he did well, he scored nine goals, he didn’t make a fuss and Valverde is sad to see him go.
But president Josep Bartomeu has listened to the coach’s complaints and has now brought in Arturo Vidal, who is the same type of player as Paulinho -- better than him is some ways, but even further away from the Barça style. Paulinho is of the quiet type; while Vidal is a live-wire, both on the field and off it. That can be seen from his appearance alone, which is so different to Xavi’s or Iniesta’s.
Alas, Xavi and Iniesta are gone and will never return. Arthur, another summer signing which was less talked about, is perhaps a little like the old guard. But the truth is that Xavi and Iniesta were the 'Barça style', and without them you have to think differently. Bringing in a player like Arturo Vidal, is an indication of a new way of thinking.