After 13 seasons and 500 matches with Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger has finally made his Bundesliga exit to make his way to Manchester United. The German midfielder traded one red kit in for another on his 18 million euro move to the Red Devils. Bayern, who were already far from short on midfield players, wasted no time in signing a new player, former Juventus star Arturo Vidal. Although not a direct replacement, it is very likely that the Chilean will prove to be a great signing for FCB.
Bayern have recently been dominating the Bundesliga, winning a third straight domestic title with quite a few weeks to spare last season. Their domestic success has generally been paired with strong European performances, but after a relatively injury-ridden string of months the German side exited the Champions League in the semifinals to eventual champions Barcelona. Bastian did not have a solidified starting place on the Bavarian side last season and as a result the 31-year-old decided it might be time for him to move on.
The decision was made to bring in 28-year-old Chilean born midfielder Arturo Vidal. Vidal is a versatile midfielder who most often plays in a box to box role, but spent more than a few minutes last season playing behind the strikers, and has even filled the role of centre back when necessary. Vidal apparently asked to leave Juventus in search of a new experience according to Juventus director Beppe Marotta. Along with helping lead Juventus to four straight domestic titles, Arturo was instrumental in the Turin side’s European success, making it to the finals of the Champions League. Additionally, Vidal lead his Chilean side to their first ever Copa America title.
Vidal plays with unparalleled aggression and tenacity, a quality that is both an asset and a liability. He is one of the best players in the world in transitioning from a defensive to an attacking role, and refuses to quit when tracking back to get the ball. However, he commits to tackles and spends a large amount of time sitting on a yellow card, and received 26 yellows domestically, but somewhat surprisingly 0 reds over the last 3 seasons in Serie A with the Bianconeri. Defensively, he averaged just over 4 tackles per game during his time in Italy. On the other end of the pitch, he scored 35 goals in all competitions for Juventus. Comparatively, Schweinsteiger scored 45 goals in all of his 13 seasons in Munich.
Vidal was signed for a remarkably low fee of 37 million euros, bringing the net transfer of the two stars to be 19 million euros, a fee similar to that paid by Newcastle United for Aleksander Mitrovic. It is clear that if Vidal continues to perform at the same level he performed at for Juventus, he would easily be worth the amount of money paid for him. The question then becomes where will Vidal fit into Bayern.
With Alonso, Thiago, Lahm and Martinez already in the midfield, Vidal will have plenty of company at Bayern. However, Alonso and Lahm are both aging and Thiago and Martinez have both struggled with injuries. For this reason, it is likely that Arturo will have many chances to earn a starting position for FCB. Additionally, as mentioned above, his versatility makes him a great fit for Pep’s Bayern. His tendency to press heavily fits well into Guardiola’s style of football, and similar to David Alaba, Vidal can be played virtually anywhere on the pitch. Bayern under Guardiola have had somewhat of a dynamic lineup with players like Lahm and Alaba playing both in midfield and defense depending on the nature of the match. Because of the flexibility and the depth in Bayern’s midfield, the exchange of the aging specialized Schweinsteiger for the multifaceted Vidal was undoubtedly a smart decision.
If all goes according to general expectations, Manchester United will fare well with their signing of Schweinsteiger, and Bayern Munich will succeed with their signing of Arturo Vidal. It appears as though both teams have made good decisions, and the only team who isn’t making out of these transfers for the better is Juventus. Although the Turin side picked up Sami Khedira for free earlier this window, losing Vidal, as well as Tevez and Pirlo, means that Juventus has quite the different season ahead of them. When it comes down to it, its pretty hard to argue that Bayern Munich has made another great piece of business, and will likely continue their success this upcoming season.
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