There has been much to talk about Barcelona in recent days. Between the firing of ex-coach, Ernesto Valverde, the shaky performance of the team up to this point in the season, and the rumors of potential trades to fill the vacancies left by injured forwards, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Demebele, there is no shortage of storylines to follow. However, one of the most interesting, yet least mentioned deals with the veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal.
The Chilean is in the middle of his second season with the Catalan club after signing a three-year, €18 million contract. The contract also included some bonus that would bring the total up by three-million euros, the majority of which through playing-time incentives. But, Vidal says that Barcelona owes him €2.4 million. Accordingly, Vidal’s lawyers presented the club with a claim to be heard by the Association of Spanish Football Players (AFE) at the end of last year.
According to the newspaper Sport, there are some clauses in the contract that would have given a bonus if Vidal played in at least 60% of games. However, give that he did not do so, the team is wary to accept Vidal’s claims because it would set a bad precedent of which other players would likely take advantage. But, part of Vidal’s complaints is that his failure to reach these bonus incentives was due to the fact that he fell victim to a reduction in playing time. Because of this, the case will likely reach litigation.
This headline, along with the others that have defined Barcelona’s season, figured to further hurt such a fragile team as this current group which is still battling Real Madrid for the top spot in the standings. While things have been unstable, Vidal’s situation hasn’t added much to the stir. In fact, before his firing, Valverde declared to the media that the lawsuit wouldn’t affect Vidal’s playing status. Moreover, the new coach of the Catalan club Quique Setién seemed to back Valverde’s words given that Vidal started only his fifth game of the season this past week.
The importance of all of this is that other bonuses in Vidal’s contract depend on whether or not he plays. For his part, the Chilean revealed that if he doesn’t play more, he is going to demand a trade. Of course, as we are in the transfer season, there have been rumors that Barcelona could trade Vidal to upgrade at another position. However, Setién’s decision to start Vidal may indicate that the club prefer to retain the services of the midfielder. If this is truly the case, remains to be seen.