Speculation that Arsenal had agreed a deal with Juventus to sign maniacally coiffed midfielder Arturo Vidal has peaked and troughed in the space of a few hours, but imagine if the Gunners landed the dynamic Chilean…
Reports in Spain claimed a price of £21m had been settled between the two parties, though these lines have since been quashed, but Arsene Wenger’s new-found penchant for signing established, world-class practitioners has fanned the inferno of excitement amongst the legion of Emirates frequenters that another high-calibre player is on his way to north London.
As the dial on the gossip-o-meter bounced furiously in the red, bwin have brought their price on Vidal joining Arsenal before transfer deadline day down to 11/20, with 7/4 saying he remains with the Champions League finalists.
But if the 27-year-old did sign for the FA Cup winners, what would the ramifications be for the current quota rammed tight into the Gunners’ teeming central-midfield department?
Francis Coquelin’s meteoric surge into first-team contention last term means there are now three holding players on the books; Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey are feuding over the one box-to-box slot, while Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are among the playmakers.
To state the cupboards are anything but bare doesn’t quite depict the club’s dangerous overpopulation situation, even before players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who Wenger regards as centre-midfielder long-term, are factored into consideration.
Ramsey is the obvious member of the bunch who Vidal most closely resembles, whose energy, technique and eagerness to attack lead to him regularly venturing beyond the team’s strikers to find the net.
The Chilean has fired double figures in the league across three of the previous four seasons, typically at the expense of assists.
Ramsey has been linked with Barcelona this summer and, with his stock unlikely to mature any further, there’s a case to be made for selling the Welshman to make room for Vidal.
Given Wenger’s adoration of the Cardiff City academy graduate, it’s difficult to envisage him sanctioning the sale, especially when the tantalising prospect of pairing the two in the Arsenal midfield exists.
In order to solidify the side’s core, particularly in fixtures with rival elite outfits, could it be possible Vidal is being targeted to play in the most advanced midfield slot at the expense of Ozil?
Sacrificing the languorous German for matches where greater intensity is required and drafting in Vidal, a player who thrives in Chile’s lauded and relentless high-press modus operandi, would inject this increased tenacity, without detracting from the goalscoring potential.
It’s a set up that’s worked favourably for Chelsea since Jose Mourinho returned, with conjuring force Oscar finding himself on the shelf when big games come along so Ramires can harry the opposition.