Aleix Vidal’s Barcelona career hasn’t gone exactly as he would have planned.
The signs should have been there from the get go.
With hindsight, not being able to play for half a season after signing due to Barça’s transfer ban probably isn’t the best of starts when you join a new club.
After being eligible to play, the right-back couldn’t properly dislodge Dani Alves as first choice in his first season at the Catalan club.
Then after Alves’ departure, Sergi Roberto has been the right-back of choice more often than not.
However, at the turn of the year, Vidal got his chance, and looked like he was finally establishing himself in the Blaugrana first team, showing why they brought him in for Sevilla in the first place.
Sadly, a dislocated ankle last month ruled him out for the rest of the season, putting his Barça future further in doubt.
— FC Barcelona (from ?) (@FCBarcelona) February 26, 2017
Where would he fit in at Chelsea?
Although he predominantly plays as a right-back for Barcelona, Vidal can play further forward.
The right wing-back role would suit him perfectly – to be honest, even with four at the back, Barça’s full-backs push forward so much they play like wing backs anyway.
With Branislav Ivanovic’s departure, you would expect Antonio Conte to be in the market for someone to provide cover for Victor Moses on the right hand side of the 3-4-3.
Ola Aina is a possible option, but he is inexperienced, while César Azpilicueta has switched there during games after Kurt Zouma has come off the bench.
It would be a surprise if Azpilicueta was used as a right wing-back on a more permanent basis though as he has been so successful as the right centre back.
Bringing in someone else who could play right wing-back, like Vidal, would make sense.
How does Vidal compare to Moses?
If you look statistically at Vidal and Moses in terms of their league form this season, you can see the two have different strengths.
The Chelsea man has been involved directly in five goals this season – scoring three and assisting two – while the Spaniard has two goals and two assists.
That doesn’t sound like there’s much in it between them, but when you realise Vidal has played 1365 league minutes less than Moses this season, you can see it’s actually the Barcelona man who is really productive in front of goal.
Per 90 minutes, Vidal has 0.38 goals and 0.38 assists, while Moses has 0.15 goals and 0.1 assists.
The former Sevilla man also comes out on top in terms of passing.
His pass completion rate is higher than that of Moses – at 83 per cent compared to 78 per cent.
Vidal also makes a considerably larger amount of passes than the Nigerian per 90 minutes – 57.48, compared to 37.25.
That is no real surprise though when you consider how Barcelona play, with the Blaugrana being renowned for their passing style.
If the 27-year-old did come to Chelsea, you would not expect the amount of passes per 90 minutes to be so high.
The Blues’ other wing-back Marcos Alonso makes 43.34 passes per game – 14 fewer than Vidal.
Conte doesn’t want his wing backs to pass as much as the Barcelona style of play.
The Italian is keen on quick counter attacks, with his wing-backs taking players on though.
And that is something that Moses excels in compared to Vidal.
He averages 2.15 successful take ons per 90 minutes so far this season, compared to the Spaniard’s 0.95.
Not only does Moses average more successful take ons, he has a better success rate too – 67.69 per cent compared to Vidal’s 50 per cent.
And in terms of defensive statistics, the Chelsea man also looks more impressive.
Per 90 minutes, compared to Vidal, he makes more clearances (2.88 to 1.13), more blocks (0.2 to 0.19), more interceptions (1.96 to 1.7) and also wins more tackles (1.42 to 0.95).
But you always have to take defensive statistics with a pinch of salt – they could be as a result of something going wrong further up the pitch.
Yet, what these do show is that Moses is more used to getting involved defensively than Vidal – with both players starting as a winger, it’s a bit of a surprise that he has come out on top in all four categories.
Should Chelsea go after Vidal?
Chelsea should definitely be looking for a replacement for Ivanovic.
At the moment, the only real back up they have for Moses is Azpilicueta, but it feels like it could be a backwards step to remove him from the right centre back role where he has been doing so well.
Bringing in someone like Vidal would make sense – he is a wing-back and you would feel Conte could get the best out of him.
Whether he would be able to displace Moses is another matter, but if he was given a chance and took it, he would probably keep his place – just look at how Pedro has kept Willian out of the team.
Vidal would be open to a move to end his Barcelona nightmare, but it would be a gamble to take a chance on a player whose game is based on speed, who is just coming back from injury and has only made 15 league appearances in the last 18 months.