Barcelona’s hijacking of Arturo Vidal from Inter has backfired badly

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Ernesto Valverde admitted last week that there are "problems" with the Chilean, who has upset the Catalan club with his social media outbursts

Barcelona successfully hijacked two transfers during the summer.

Malcom's move to Camp Nou dominated the headlines because of the way in which the Catalans had surreptitiously swooped for the Roma-bound Bordeaux winger.

However, it is also worth remembering that Arturo Vidal was all set to sign for Inter until the Nerazzurri had their heads turned by Luka Modric, thus allowing Barcelona to steal in and quickly wrap up a €20 million (£17.8m/$23.2m) deal for the Bayern Munich midfielder while the Italians were still courting the Croatian.

Two months on, Malcom remains a difficult character to keep track of, having been seen just twice in a Barcelona shirt since turning up at Camp Nou to join the Blaugrana for €41m (£36m/$47m).

He's still young, though. At 21, he still has time to develop, to prove himself at Barca. It was never anticipated that he would go straight into Ernesto Valverde's starting line-up, anyway.

The 31-year-old Vidal, on the other hand, was expected to immediately prove a useful addition to a team lacking bite and dynamism in the middle of the park.

However, Barca have seen little evidence of either. 

Indeed, thus far, the most compelling evidence Blaugrana fans have seen of Vidal's fighting spirit emerged at a Munich court during his sentencing for attacking a man with a bottle of vodka in a Bavarian nightclub in September of last year, an assault for which he was fined €800,000.

Vidal has not looked anything like the midfield warrior that was such a hero at Bayern, and Juventus before that. Worse still, rather than battle for his place in the Barca XI, he has spent more time complaining about his exclusion. 

Arturo Vidal Barcelona Segura PS

Unsurprisingly, the powers that be at Barcelona have been left both bemused and bewildered by his behaviour, and, in particular, his childish and petulant use of social media to express his dissatisfaction with his lack of game time.

After being utilised as an 87th-minute substitute in the 4-2 win over Tottenham at Wembley, Vidal posted an angry emoji on his Instagram account.

It was hastily removed and replaced by the message: "Never give up. The best is yet to come."

In reality, worse was to follow.

After spending the entirety of Barca's Liga draw with Valencia on the bench, he posted the rather cryptic message: "Don't fight with those who are like Judas; they will hang themselves."

Vidal insisted that the post was aimed at his critics rather than anyone connected to Camp Nou but Barca were nonetheless unimpressed that the Chilean's online activity had again become a talking point.

"In general, the situation with Vidal is very clear," sporting director Pep Segura told Sport.

"Firstly, with his protests, it's a clear demonstration that he wants to play for and serve Barcelona, contributing to winning everything, as he said when he was presented.

"The negative part is he doesn't have the delicate touch that a professional should have, out of respect for his coach and his team-mates.

"In a club as big as Barca, with the great professionals here, Vidal knows he has done wrong, that he lacked respect for his team-mates and I'm sure he will correct that."

Certainly, he is now making all the right noises about doing just that. 

Arturo Vidal Barcelona PS

After racking up as many starts for Chile during the international break as he had for Barca during the preceding six weeks (two), he proclaimed, "I'm heading back to Barcelona with plenty of desire to win a place in the team."

He hasn't managed it so far, though, and his chances of forcing his way into the starting line-up don't look good, particularly with Arthur looking increasingly effective alongside midfield mainstays Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic.

Indeed, Barca look a better-balanced side with the slick Brazilian in midfield and his compatriot Philippe Coutinho further forward.

It was also telling that he didn't even get off the bench in Saturday's win over Sevilla, just 24 hours after Valverde had publicly admitted for the first time that there are "problems" with Vidal, even though the Barca boss refused to disclose their exact nature. 

Obviously, at 31, Vidal is not finished as a player and he could yet prove a very useful reserve for the Blaugrana, given his attributes are very different to those of his rivals for a midfield berth. 

Furthermore, while he has confessed that he is "not happy" with spending most of his time on the Barca bench, he certainly isn't going to throw in the towel at this early stage of his Camp Nou career.

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"I'm going to keep doing what I have always done: fight, because nothing is easy," he recently stated. "But you can do anything in this life with effort and sacrifice."

While it is not in Vidal's character to just give up and walk away, it is also not in his character to acquiesce and accept his role as a reserve.

In that sense, he is as likely to lash out again than win over Valverde. Unfortunately for Vidal, this particular battle may already be lost.

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