Arturo Vidal was Barcelona's surprise signing last summe. The exit of Paulinho obliged the club to look for a midfielder with a similar profile. The opportunity came up to sign the Chilean from Bayern Munich and Barça took it.
Vidal was offered to the club and, with the blessing of Ernesto Valverde, the Catalans moved quickly. On August 4, they completed the deal for 25 million euros and the 31-year-old signed a deal until 2021.
Eight months later, he's one of Valverde's jokers. The coach values two things: his ability to deliver and give 110 percent on any stage (against Manchester United or Huesca) and his role within the dressing room.
With time, and after a period when he didn't play as much as he would have liked, he's accepted his role rotating with Arthur Melo and as a replacement in other games.
"One of Arturo's characteristics is that he gives everything, makes an extra effort," Valverde's said. "That's his quality, the enthusiasm he has to push on is good because it drives the team on."
KEY TO THE FUTURE
With that in mind, Barça are planning to extend his deal by an additional year in the medium term. It's not a case of sitting down with him soon, but avoiding him leaving for free in the summer of 2021.
There's no rush and the situation's flexible: if a big offer arrived in the summer of 2020, the club would also have to study the situation. But as of right now, Vidal's role at the club remains the same and the first option is to keep him around.
The arrival of Frenkie de Jong will strengthen Barça's midfield next season. Inter and other clubs have noticed that, with interest shown in Vidal.
The Asian market is also keeping an eye on Vidal. But what does he think? He's delighted with what he's found in Barcelona. And above all has learned to feel useful in a different role to what he had at Bayern and Juventus, where he was a regular.
The social media complaints have disappeared and, in part thanks to the confidence of Valverde, he feels comfortable at Camp Nou.
So far this season he has scored two goals and set up five more in 2,142 minutes of football -- Arthur has played 2,280 minutes. And the coahces are delighted with what he adds in terms of pressing and defending, too.
That's where they believe he makes the difference. But off the pitch, he's had a big impact on the dressing room and plays a big role among the South Americans. His relationship and support for the younger players has also caught the eye. He's always prepared to help out.
In his first season, the Chilean has lived up to expectations and it's hoped he will continue to be important.