Bayern Munich have no shortage of in-house midfield replacements for Arturo Vidal. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Bayern Munich have no shortage of in-house midfield replacements for Arturo Vidal. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Why Arturo Vidal was allowed to leave: Bayern Munich's incredible strength in depth in midfield


After three enormously successful seasons back in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, Arturo Vidal has joined La Liga's Barcelona.

The midfielder formerly known as el Guerrero and la Piranha is no longer Bayern's warrior-like piranha marshaling the centre of their midfield, running over Bundesliga opposition seemingly at will.

And while you may be excused for thinking the 31-year-old's exit from the Allianz Arena will prove as much a blow for Bayern as a collective sigh of relief from Bundesliga midfielders up and down the country, that may not prove the case at all.

Despite losing Vidal's immense experience and pedigree of lifting two German championships, a DFB Cup and Supercup, Bayern's embarrassment of riches in midfield means the move makes a lot more sense than you may initially imagine. looks at the men who are more than capable of filling Vidal's shoes...

James Rodriguez

Age: 27
Country: Colombia
Key stat: Direct hand in a goal every 199 minutes as No.10 in the Hinrunde, every 89 minutes as a central midfielder in the Rückrunde.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner was a revelation in the second-half of his first full season at Bayern, something brought about by his drop into a deeper role under Jupp Heynckes. Having started the season operating in his more accustomed No.10 deployment, James starred as Bayern's creative launching pad alongside two of the Thiago, Vidal and Corentin Tolisso triumvirate.

Watch: James' stunning debut season at Bayern

Corentin Tolisso

A return of 11 assists and seven goals in his debut Bundesliga campaign shows just how effective James can still be from further back in the deck. With his ability to play across the front three, operate behind the striker and now as a marauding playmaker, how James fits into Niko Kovac's system is a luxurious headache for the new boss to nurse. He may be one of the best creators in world football, but perhaps James lacks the bite of a Tolisso. Worry not...

Age: 23
Country: France
Key stat: 90.9 per cent of passes completed, 51 per cent of tackles won last season

A club-record signing from Lyon 12 months ago, Tolisso returns to Munich a World Cup winner and the most obvious heir apparent to Vidal's midfield throne. Versatile, hard-working, loves a tackle and immensely creative, Tolisso offers comparative bite to Vidal in midfield and makes a telling contribution going forward.

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Sebastian Rudy

Comparisons with Bayern legends Lothar Matthäus and Michael Ballack will further raise expectations, but if anyone has the talent to get close to fulfilling these most large of shoes then it is Goretzka. And while Goretzka will most certainly relish getting involved further up the pitch, there is one more option who adds a bit of sanity to proceedings…

Age: 28
Country: Germany
Key stat: 90.6 per cent pass completion in 2017/18

Signed from Hoffenheim a nudge over a year ago, Rudy's first season at Bayern was up-and-down to say the least. The Germany international proved a reliable operator in the Bayern midfield, but largely went unnoticed as the more defensive officer of the ranks. He doesn't offer the same potency as Vidal going forward, but does bring a more defensively astute flavour to a midfield littered with creative genius.

- © imago
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