Arturo Vidal is arguably the best ball-winner in Europe and rumours linking him to a move to Bayern Munich when Guardiola takes charge is not surprising. Brendon Netto discusses..
There are certain players who complete teams, who can join the ranks of a strong squad and take them to the next level. They can be the difference between the side finishing second in the domestic league and clinching the title, the difference between a club dominating domestically and conquering the continent as well. In anticipation of Pep Guardiola’s imminent employment at the helm for Bayern Munich next season, it comes as no surprise that Juventus’ Arturo Vidal is touted to be one of the foremost names on his summer shopping list, a player who can complete a team.
This season itself, Bayern are in a fantastic position to win the Bundesliga while looking strong in the Champions League as well. They are definitely among the favourites to win Europe’s most prestigious competition but the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are arguably ahead of them in that regard. They seem to have bested Borussia Dortmund domestically in the current campaign but Guardiola would come in and look to make them front-runners in every competition.
Guardiola to take over
To do just that, he’ll need the services of a player like Vidal who is most certainly a rare breed. His versatility as a box-to-box midfielder, his irresistible ball-winning skill and ability to set plays in motion make the Chilean International a very rare talent indeed.
He chases the ball down like a terrier throughout the game and he’s been appropriately given the nickname “Il Guerriero” in Italy which means “The Warrior”. For a player who goes into so many challenges in every game, he doesn't commit a lot of fouls which is testament to his neat technique and contrary to the notion that you need to be rough and robust to be a ball-winner. In fact, he's committed an average of just 2.2 fouls per game this season while averaging 5 successful tackles per game. (source: whoscored.com)
A great ball-winner
He’s been played in every outfield position except in that of striker over the course of his career but central midfield is where he truly flourishes. He’s no slouch in the attacking third either as he’s chipped in with 9 goals and 6 assists so far this season. He’s been a vital source of goals from midfield for Juventus, a team that desperately lacks a prolific striker. He has a knack for being in the right place and never shies away from having a pop at goal. Most importantly, his willingness to fight for the team means he scores decisive goals when needed the most.
The Champions League group game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this season serves as a prime example. With the Serie A champions trailing 2-0, Vidal had just picked up a heavy knock to his ankle and appeared to be moving gingerly. Nevertheless, when the ball fell to him, he didn’t think twice. He scored a fantastic goal to hand his side a life-line and then limped his way back into position for the restart before going on to be instrumental in a 2-2 final score.
Scores vital goals
Perhaps Guardiola hasn’t had the need for a player in his mould at Barcelona but he certainly will at Bayern. He’s not going to find Xavis and Iniestas in the German capital. He won’t be able to replicate the Catalans’ style of play and he won’t attempt to. That would take years of dedicated work which begins with the youth academy.
The Spaniard will still adopt a passing-system and he’ll have some good distributors of the ball among his options. The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Javi Martinez all possess the ability to use the ball well but none can match the drive and energy Vidal offers in midfield.
Andrea Pirlo probably owes a great deal of gratitude to the Chilean. Although the Italian has received the bulk of the plaudits for his playmaking contribution in Juventus’ success, he wouldn't have had the freedom to orchestrate proceedings without the insurance that Vidal offers. In the same way, Vidal will offer the Bayern players similar assistance.
The player to propel Bayern forward?
He may not be deployed in a Sergio Busquets role because he’s far more dynamic than that but he should still be expected to take up the more defensive responsibilities in the middle of the park. He could prove to be an anchor in midfield and the foundation on which Bayern launch their attacks while his versatility and attacking prowess means that he could be pushed forward if required.
He had a successful spell at Bayer Leverkusen and is no stranger to the Bundesliga while the opportunity to play under Guardiola could be too good to refuse, not to mention a serious charge for the Champions League being on offer as well. The midfielder was keen on a move to Bayern in 2011 but Leverkusen refused to sell him to their rivals. Could this summer be the ideal time for him to move to Munich?
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