Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has today discussed the imminent arrival of Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal at the Camp Nou.
South American superstar
Vidal, an experienced 31-year-old Chilean international, joined Bayern from Italian giants Juventus in the summer of 2015 for a fee in the region of 40 million Euro.
The all-action box-to-box powerhouse has long been regarded as one of world football’s finest midfielders (though injuries and age have caught up with him somewhat of late), with his sensational performances for his country during their back-to-back Copa America triumphs in 2015 and 2016 having only served to reinforce this widely-shared opinion.
However, rather suprisingly, Vidal has nevertheless been persistently linked with an exit from the Alliaz Arena over the last 12 months, with Manchester United and Chelsea having long been touted as potential destinations for the South American.
The last couple of weeks saw a new front-runner emerge for the veteran, though, in the form of Serie A outfit Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri are known to be on the lookout for reinforcements in the middle of the park, with reports stemming from Italy having previously suggested a strong mutual interest between the Italian giants and Vidal.
But, after conflicting claims began to emerge regarding the possibility of Inter securing a shock deal for Real Madrid star Luka Modric, Vidal was said to have been put on the back-burner by the Italian giants.
And, if Inter can’t eventually push a deal for Modric over the line, which looks a far more likely outcome than the Milanese outfit actually convincing Real to part ways with the Croatian, then their hesitance in securing Vidal’s signature in due course looks set to prove hugely costly.
This is due to the late emergence of Barcelona as contenders for Vidal’s signature, with the Blaugrana having joined and subsequently surpassed Inter in the race for the Chilean over the last 48 hours.
And, as per an official announcement across the club’s social media platforms yesterday afternoon, Barca have since gone on to clinch a deal with Bayern over Vidal, with the explosive midfielder expected in Catalunya to undergo his medical over the coming days.
‘A little bit different’
As such, Ernesto Valverde, manager of the La Liga champions, was unsurprisingly drawn on the imminent arrival of his side’s latest addition during a press conference earlier today, with the Spanish tactician having confirmed that Vidal is set to fill the role previously carried out by Paulinho last season, due to his ‘different’ characteristics to the rest of the Blaugrana’s midfield:
‘He’s a player who we hope will bring energy to the midfield. He has a lot of experience and has played a lot of games on all the teams he has appeared with. He’s accustomed to playing in big matches.’
‘He has a lot of presence on the field and I think that will be very good for us.’
‘Like Paulinho, he’s a player who’s a little bit different than the ones we have and we think he will be able to adapt well.’
‘He’s a warrior. Our team has space for many different types of players.’
‘Last year there was a little bit of controversy when Paulinho came, and before he even played a single minute. Then people saw that he worked out really well.’