Several trusted sources seem to be suggesting that Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal is all set to join Arsenal this summer after competing in the Copa America for the Chilean national team, but is he really the signing the Gunners need in that position?
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According to the Metro, who cite Chilean DirecTV journalist Hernan Feler, this move looks likely to go through later on in the summer, with an announcement expected after Vidal takes part in this summer’s international tournament.
It is not yet known how much Arsenal will end up paying for the 27-year-old, who has also been linked with Liverpool this summer (according to the Daily Express) after impressing in Serie A once again.
There’s no doubt about Vidal’s contribution to a fourth consecutive Italian league title win for Juve, with an impressive tally of eight goals and four assists in all competitions also playing a major role in guiding Massimiliano Allegri’s side to the final of the Champions League, where he could make his final appearance for the club against Barcelona. It is well established that Arsenal need strengthening in midfield at the moment, with other reports suggesting Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin has been a top target (via the Daily Telegraph), while Real Madrid contract rebel Sami Khedira is another defensive-minded player who clearly fits the bill (also according to the Daily Telegraph). With Arsenal looking so suspect at the back in the first half of this season, it is the inclusion of Francis Coquelin in the starting lineup that has helped the club look more solid in the second half of the campaign, helping them cement a top four finish once again, as well as reaching a second FA Cup final in a row.
Still, with the young Frenchman remaining somewhat inexperienced, it is always a gamble to rely on such a player to be the main main in such an important position, with links to Schneiderlin and Khedia unsurprising. Vidal, however, is not really as defensive minded a player as any of these, as he has been used in a more advanced role for Juventus this season.
According to WhoScored.com, the South American has played ten games as a central attacking midfielder, six on the right flank, and one game on the left-hand side; that’s 17 games in total, the same amount as he has been used as an ‘MC’, the role he would presumably be asked to fill for Arsene Wenger’s side, given their need for players in that area rather than further forward, where they have the likes of Mesut Ozil, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey to choose from already.
It is worth pointing out that Santi Cazorla has dropped deep to good effect this season and may be Wenger’s long-term answer in that position, meaning there may be room for Vidal further forward. Or, of course, the former Bayer Leverkusen man could take Cazorla’s place and play in a similar way, with attacking freedom from deep, while the Spaniard would be allowed to return to a more natural position as part of the attacking midfield three behind the main striker.
Still, another concern about Vidal is his injury problems. It was reported by the Daily Mail last summer that Manchester United decided against a deal to sign him due to repeated problems with his knee. Vidal may feel he has recovered well, playing 28 games in Serie A this term, but given Arsenal’s awful record with injuries, perhaps they run a real risk here in signing a player with a history of struggling to complete 90 minutes.
This is largely nitpicking to some extent, but with Khedira available on a free transfer and Schneiderlin in such fine form and two years younger than Vidal, it is arguable that there are more suitable options out there this summer despite growing speculation that this deal is set to go through.