It was always going to be difficult for Barcelona to replace Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the midfield, so it’s not completely surprising that the midfield has featured a number of players coming and going in recent years.
Sergio Busquets remained a constant presence, while Ivan Rakitic was the closest to a true replacement. Arturo Vidal looked like he would simply be another stopgap signing when he arrived last year.
He’s actually gone on to play a very important part for the team. He featured over 50 times last season and already has 14 this campaign, which includes playing in four of their five Champions League fixtures.
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He’s 32, so isn’t a long term option, but it’s clear he’s an important player for Barca. Despite that, ESPN has recently reported that Barca are worried they might lose the Chilean in January.
They go on to suggest that Inter Milan will be looking to sign him when the window opens next month, but Ernesto Valverde sees him as a leader and doesn’t want to lose him.
They also indicate that Inter are desperate to add a midfielder in January and Vidal is high on Antonio Conte’s wishlist. The pair worked well at Juventus so it’s possible that Vidal might want to reunite with his former boss.
It may come down to how much football Barca can guarantee him in the second half of the season. The ESPN story does say he would want to leave if his playing time became limited, but there’s nothing to suggest that any kind of deal could be close.
It will be interesting to see if he does move next month.