Cologne - The final confirmation was a long time in coming but in the end, FC Bayern München got their man.
On the last Tuesday of the month, days before Bayern's Supercup assignment at VfL Wolfsburg, Arturo Vidal put pen to paper on a four-year deal that has him earmarked to fill the gap left by Manchester-bound Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 28-year-old Chile international looks best-equipped to do so, as the German record champions prepare for their assault on a second Bundesliga-DFB Cup-Champions League treble in three years.
'A real winner'
It has been a busy summer already for Vidal, for the most part spent helping Chile to victory in the Copa America. In typical fashion, the 'warrior' declared himself raring to go straight away in his new surroundings, putting himself in the frame for a debut run-out against the Wolves at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday evening.
"He's a winner, with an excellent mindset. His ability man-on-man, eye for goal and all-round versatility can only help us," Bayern director of sport Matthias Sammer enthused. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also looking forward to having Vidal patrolling the area in front of his defence. "I know him best from his time with Leverkusen, although I also saw him play for Juventus now and then. He's a very aggressive midfielder, not afraid to go in where it hurts. Being South American, he's obviously not bad on the ball either. We're going to enjoy having him on board," the world keeper of the year said.
Spoilt for choice
The capture of Vidal, who spent four years at Leverkusen from 2007-11, adds further to Bayern's positive embarrassment of riches in the midfield department above all. Even with Schweinsteiger gone, the Munich club have Xabi Alonso, Thiago, Philipp Lahm, David Alaba and Javi Martinez as obvious contenders for a deep-lying slot, not to mention the returning Pierre-Emil Höjbjerg and fellow top prospect Joshua Kimmich. Despite the ferocious competition, Vidal looks set to play a key role in head coach Pep Guardiola's planning. With his renowned bite and aggression, he adds a further dimension to a side already full to brimming with ball artists a la Robben, Ribery and Götze – not to mention the other headline summer arrival, Douglas Costa.
"I think you need to have a certain mix of players in the team. Someone like Arturo adds to that mix very well, for us," Sammer explained. At any rate, the Chilean superstar's move to Munich was a long time coming in more ways than one. Jupp Heynckes wanted to bring him along when he himself swapped Leverkusen for Bayern in 2011 but that came to naught, with Vidal switching to Serie A and Juventus instead. Four years down the line, the ink is dry on the deal after all. Ahead of his flight from Chile taking off the day before, he tweeted, "A new stage... a new dream. It's off to Munich!"