Inter’s recent loss to Juventus could have easily confirmed that their title-race is now run. While the pandemic situation has led to Serie A being suspended, but it seems tough how Antonio Conte’s men get up from this. It is down to next season and how the business is done in the summer. Arturo Vidal though should be a key part of that business.
Like it was in the January transfer window, Inter continue to be linked with a move for the Chilean. It is certainly still a possibility but Vidal’s need in the Inter side is now reaching a high point. And if Conte does sign him, it could silently work to their advantage next season.
Like his love of a Swiss casino, Conte certainly knows Vidal well from their time together at Juventus. In Conte’s 3-5-2 system, Vidal was that tireless workhorse. He would win tackles in midfield while patroling the heart of the park like no one else in Europe could. He would give Paul Pogba and the Juventus attack a lot of freedom to score. Him and Claudio Marchisio or Andre Pirlo would set the foundation for the whole team, when in possession.
Vidal was so good at Juve that his role has become a defining one for his teams. In the 2013-14 season, Vidal had won as many as 4.1 tackles per game in Serie A for Juve. In the 2012-13 season, that number stood at 4.9. That goes to show what an influence he had while winning balls back and not letting anyone past the Juve midfield.
At Barcelona, former manager Ernesto Valverde would use him to bring control to matches. He did that exceptionally against Inter themselves in the Champions League. When Barca were 1-0 down, Vidal came on in the second half to help Barca grab control of the game. He was key helping Barca win 2-1.
It was a true reflection of how Vidal stamps his authority in games, even at the age of 32. At Inter, Nicolo Barella has been playing that role in the 3-5-2 shape. While he has been impressive, the former Cagliari man has won only 1.2 tackles per game this season. He makes less than one interception per game as well. He gets dribbled past 1.2 times and it shows that Barella doesn’t head into as many tackles in aggressive fashion as Vidal used to.
It doesn’t really reflect Barella’s abilities in the best of the light. But it is the truth- Barella has a lot to improve to completely become a proper Conte-like player. He isn’t quite what Vidal used to be. He is still 23 and has a go up a level in. He had recently suffered a knee injury and that had forced Conte to use Marcelo Brozovic further forward or play Roberto Gagliardini there.
But they aren’t the tacklers like Vidal or Barella are. That makes the former Cagliari man a very important player. He brings something that no other Inter midfielder has. That tenacity to marshal the midfield and constantly probe the opposition midfield for trouble.
Conte knows Vidal very well and that is one reason why he wants him. Vidal is 32 and would be a cheap signing. He would be a very good option to change games and play regularly if Barella doesn’t play. At Barcelona, he has often been playing in attacking midfield and Conte can use him there too.
This is the sort of smart move that Conte would love to make. It is a lot like him wanting Ashley Young, knowing he can be back-up as won’t cost as much. In that sense, the Chilean could be a key signing for Inter’s Scudetto run next season.