Arturo Vidal signing not enough for Barcelona midfield


FC Barcelona signed veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal away from Bayern Munich. The 31-year-old will sign a three-year contract upon arriving in Spain.

Vidal was set to enter the final season of his contract with the German giants, and instead Bayern have accepted a fee of €25 million to let him leave for La Liga. Vidal played three seasons for Bayern, and he will now presumably fill the void left by Paulinho. Earlier this summer, Barcelona loaned the Brazilian back to Guangzhou Evergrande of the Chinese Super League after just one season in Spain. Vidal is expected to serve as a central defensive midfielder that will see regular action.

This move won't do much to improve Barca's odds of winning the league considering they entered the summer as favorites already, plus Real Madrid's odds took a hit with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo. Madrid will surely remain relevant in the title chase once they find a suitable successor to Ronaldo, but as of now the Spanish top flight would appear to be Barcelona's to lose once again. Not all sportsbooks line up exactly the same way (all books have different odds and online banking options), but the consensus seems to be that Barca will win the league and challenge for European glory next season, as well.

Barca had also reportedly had their eyes on out-of-favor Paris St. Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot and Ajax youngster Frenkie de Jong before ultimately opting to sign Vidal. The club was concerned that deals for the other aforementioned players would not be completed by the end of the summer transfer window, so Vidal will come to the Camp Nou instead.

Vidal's time in Germany was cut short after Bayern's new manager, Niko Kovac, determined that the Chilean would not be needed moving forward with so many other capable midfielders already in the side. Vidal had also been linked with a move to Inter Milan before sealing his transfer to Barcelona.

The experienced midfielder began his professional career with Colo-Colo in his home country before moving to Europe for the first time in 2007 in order to join Bayer Leverkusen. He stayed in Germany until 2011 when he made a big-money move to Italian giants Juventus. He collected four consecutive titles in the Italian top flight before making the move back to Germany to join Bayern prior to the 2015 campaign.

Vidal bagged 22 goals for himself and handed out 18 assists in 124 appearances in all competitions for the defending Bundesliga champions. Bayern won the German top flight title in each of his three seasons with the team, which means his team has claimed its domestic title in seven consecutive seasons.

He will obviously have a good chance at running that number to eight straight next season with Barcelona, who breezed their way to the La Liga title this past term.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge issued a statement after the news broke, saying, "On behalf of everyone at Bayern, I would like to thank Arturo very much for three fantastic years. We won a lot of silverware in that time, and Arturo played a major role in those wins. He was a leader, also in the big game. We could always rely on him."

Vidal becomes Barcelona's fifth signing of the summer thus far. The biggest splash thus far for the Blaugrana was the acquisition of Malcom from Bordeaux after the player had received interest from plenty of other clubs, including Everton in the Premier League and Roma of Serie A. Barca ultimately won the bidding war in controversial fashion after terms had reportedly been agreed upon between Malcom and the Italian side. Shortly thereafter, Roma was reportedly planning on pursuing legal action against Barca for their role in hijacking the transfer.

Vidal will also join fellow newcomers Clement Lenglet (Sevilla), Moussa Wague (KAS Eupen) and Arthur (Gremio). Wague was announced just before the signing of Vidal was finalized.

Barca have not lost much of substance this summer, either. Left back Lucas Digne is likely the most high-profile player to have left the Camp Nou, as the Frenchman recently joined Everton. Gerard Deulofeu, formerly of Everton, was acquired by Watford in the Premier League. Andres Iniesta retired, of course, as well. 

With the future of Ivan Rakitic now in question given PSG's very insistent interest, the Barcelona board may need to make yet another signing in order to strengthen their midfield this summer.

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