An abnormally long transfer process ended with the sight many wanted to see: Arturo Vidal sign his four-year deal to officially become a member of Bayern Munich.
He arrival comes four years later than desired, but with Bayern's treble aspirations, it could be just in time. The 28-year-old is the addition Bayern had to make two attempts to get, and he comes as the only player who possesses the skills that could make the club miss Bastian Schweinsteiger a little less.
His transfer is the latest shrewd piece of business that has kept the club competing at the top for the past five seasons. Vidal's transfer fee is one of the highest in Bayern history, but the entire package is comparable to what Bayern payed for Franck Ribéry, and not much more than what Manchester United paid for Schweinsteiger. That kind of deal for arguably the best central midfielder in the world is simply salivating.
The investment fits like a silver dollar in a coin collection, but it is certainly a type of investment Bayern usually do not tend to make. Vidal is a perfect fit for Bayern, but the investment is a gamble nonetheless.
Vidal's knee issues in the past two years certainly do not enhance his player profile considering Bayern just parted with a midfielder who dealt with nagging injuries. His meniscus injury came right at the end of the 2013/14 season, preventing him from missing significant matches, but he was not able to kick into full gear with Chile at the World Cup until the knockout stages. Resilient and proud, he tries not to miss time if he does not have to. However, as he gets later into his 20s, he aggressive style of play can be less vivacious and more volatile to his health.
Perhaps the more pressing issue is his checkered past with alcohol. Although some reports may have exaggerated his partying at times, he is still a player who was involved in a costly brawl in Toronto, and who missed his flight back to Italy from Chile after a night of shenanigans. His latest opus of drunken escapades involved him recking his Ferrari while on international duty at the Copa America. The remorse he voiced following the incident may have been genuine internal awaking, but a revoked license on top of his rap sheet is not an encouraging indicator for his Bayern integration.
That said, for a player needing a rotation or two and teammates pushing him in the right direction, Bayern seems like the a good club to move on to. After all, his rap sheet is not all bad. He is a man who keeps his friends and family close, and passionately bestows a fraction of his earnings to provide for terminally ill children. And on the pitch? There is no equal.
Bayern have recruited the Warrior, a player tenacious player battle-tested to a new preceptive level. His relentless pursuits now have more of a purpose, and his offensive contributions are temperate and controlled. He is the only player in the world who will strive for the ball with vehemence one moment only to delicately orchestrate with it the next. Depending on what his side needs, he can lead the charge himself or step back to pull the strings.
Vidal's skill set is the only thing missing from Pep Guardiola's cabinet of midfielders, slotting in with what Xabi Alonso and Thiago Alcantara do well. His ability to win the ball high up the field makes the need for David Alaba and Philipp Lahm in midfield not as essential, although the grouping of the three would be a menacing combination of guts and guile. His prior Bundesliga experience shortens the timeline for his assimilation, an imperative aspect for a team trying to get a head-start on their treble ambitions.
If there was ever talent that was worth the risk, Vidal certainly makes a strong case for it. The slightly shortened four-year deal mitigates some of the opportunity cost as well, proving how prudent Bayern's investment strategy is. For a club making a conceited effort to rejuvenate the squad, Vidal could very well be worth the gamble, which only means good things for him and the Rekordmeister.