Arturo Vidal, a misfit at Barça
The international break has served, if nothing else, for us to witness how Arturo Vidal’s situation has deteriorated at Barça, where he is starting to look like a misfit. His fiery, upfront demeanour makes him stand out in a group in which, not that long ago, included unassuming figures like Xavi and Iniesta. And his clumsy handling of his own social media accounts isn’t exactly an example of prudence. Barça’s Sports Manager for the Football Area Pep Segura, the man who incidentally signed Vidal, has come out and criticized the player publicly – accusing him of showing a lack of respect towards his own team mates and the coach. You would imagine that a meeting has been planned to sort things out after the international break. In the meantime, people have started asking why Arturo Vidal came to Barça in the first place and what’s really going on with him.
Valverde calls for midfield steel
Vidal was brought in to fil, the vacancy left by Paulinho. A year ago, with Iniesta in decline and Busquets too often overwhelmed by the workload, Valverde made a request to strengthen the midfield. Cue Paulinho’s arrival, which raised a few eyebrows at the time because a player of his profile was such a radical shift away from the previous model – a departure from Barça’s subtle and elegant pass and move game. But he played well, moved from box to box, scored goals – without any fuss and his return to China (which was a little bit strange it has to be said) left a large void. In an attempt to fill the hole, the club turned to Arturo Vidal, a midfield titan with a good career under his belt at Juve and Bayern. And to cap it all, they got him on the cheap.
Paulinho visit magnifies Vidal situation
And there was the rub of it - 19 million euros for a player in today’s market is very cheap and as the saying goes, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. You can determine a horse’s age by looking at their teeth - and a player’s by examining their knees. Arturo Vidal is past his prime and his conduct off the pitch could never be described as graceful. So now, instead of energy and control in the centre of the park, Valverde has a disobedient auxiliary. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. By sheer coincidence, Paulinho popped in on his old team mates during a visit to Barcelona this week, and his presence reminded us of the good times when there was a healthy vibe around the squad. Having said that, I think Segura, with his words, has only added fuel to the fire...