During his prime years at Juventus, Arturo Vidal was the sort of midfielder that every manager dreams of having at their disposal. He was fast, determined, strong in the tackle, and could chip in with a goal or two.
He had a temper that could go too far sometimes, but that was massively outweighed by the benefits he bought to that remarkable team.
A few years down the line at Inter, he looks like a player whose time at the top level has come to an end. That aforementioned temper that goes too far is still there, but the good elements of his game have rarely been seen this season.
Conte made a bold tactical call against Atalanta to play Vidal instead of the more creative and forward-thinking Christian Eriksen.
He clearly valued some extra defensive solidity against a usually free-scoring Atalanta. This was probably the right decision, but Vidal was the wrong player. The Chilean was sloppy in possession and went missing far too often. This resulted in Conte admitting defeat in the 53rd minute when he hooked the 33-year-old for Eriksen.
What he may have shown to Antonio Conte, however, is that Inter actually do need a player like Vidal. They need another solid midfielder who’s going to dictate play, break up opposition attacks and offer consistent performances.
A player like that alongside Marcelo Brozovic would give Nicolo Barella much more of a license to push up and aid the attacks. Some may say two more defensively minded midfielders in front of a back three is negative, but with Inter’s strike force and wing-backs, there’s more than enough attacking prowess in this team.
An example of a player who fits this mold and might offer a cheaper transfer outlay in what will be a tough summer financially is Yves Bissouma. Brighton and Hove Albion to Inter may not be a well-trodden path, but the 24-year-old midfielder has been extremely consistent in the Premier League this season.
He regularly stops opposition attacks and progresses the ball forward quickly without fuss. He’s attracting the attention of teams like Manchester United and Arsenal, a testament to the level he’s performing at.
Due to the financial situation at the club, it’s almost impossible to predict what Inter’s summer could look like. That being said, it’s clear they will need more midfield reinforcements if they want to do some damage in the Champions League next season.