How will new Barcelona signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal fit in?
By Gerard Brand and Guillem Balague
Last Updated: 07/01/16 8:53am
Can Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal improve a Barcelona side that won five trophies in 2015? We look at how the pair might fit in...
Turan and Vidal were signed last summer from Atletico Madrid and Sevilla respectively, but have had to wait until this month to play because of a FIFA transfer ban imposed on Barca for breaching rules over the signings of under-age players.
Turan inherits the No 7 shirt previously worn by Pedro - who joined Chelsea last summer - while Spain wing-back Vidal will wear the No 22 that Dani Alves wore before he switched to No 6.
Here, with the help of Sky Sports' Spanish expert Guillem Balague, we look at their potential roles under Luis Enrique...
The Turkey midfielder's tireless work rate and defensive discipline make him a seamless addition to Enrique's side, who sit two points behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga, but with a game in hand.
Front trio Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi may seem immovable having scored 55 goals between them already this season, but Balague sees the 28-year-old as potential cover in the forward positions.
Enrique's favoured 4-3-3 formation is rooted and successful, and despite Barca getting through a month-long Messi-less period relatively unscathed in autumn due to injury, the back-up will be welcome.
Balague said: "Turan is the perfect player to replace one of the front three when they are injured, or when the game needs controlling.
"He can also, of course, play as a midfielder, but less often. They will see him as a forward or a fourth midfielder, not one of the three in central midfield.
"If he is fit - and it takes a while to get up to match pace because he has been away for a while, even though he has been playing with Turkey - we will start seeing minutes from him, especially in the Copa del Rey."
Turan made his Barcelona debut in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-16 tie with Espanyol on Wednesday night, lasting for 67 minutes at the Nou Camp.
The 28-year-old was utilised as one of the home side's three midfielders, operating in the centre of the park alongside captain Andres Iniesta and the more defensive-minded Sergio Busquets.
And Arda very nearly marked his Barca bow with a goal after being played through by Messi just past the hour-mark, only for visiting goalkeeper Pau Lopez to deny him with an excellent near-post save.
The 26-year-old, who has one Spain cap, will wear Alves' old number, but will he follow in the Brazilian's footsteps on the right-hand side of Barcelona's back four?
Another energetic runner on and off the ball, Vidal played predominantly as a right winger during a successful season at Sevilla in 2014/15, but Balague insists Barca will use him as competition for Alves.
And despite not being allowed to feature until January, the fight for the right-back berth already seems to have helped 32-year-old Alves, who has put in a number of impressive performances this season with 18 months remaining on his contract and an option of an extra year.
Balague said: "Vidal is seen as a potential future replacement for right-back Dani Alves, but Alves has been playing well.
"The signing has already helped Barcelona, because it has ensured Alves does not drop his high levels of performance. Vidal is not seen as much of a winger at the moment.
"Both Turan and Vidal have had a fantastic attitude in training and everybody is looking forward to seeing them feature regularly."
Vidal also made his first appearance for Barcelona against Espanyol, although only as a 67th-minute substitute for Alves at right-back.
With the game stretched and the visitors down to nine men for the final quarter of an hour, the attack-minded full-back was given plenty of opportunity to get forward.
And the 26-year-old demonstrated he can be a more than able replacement for the Brazil international when Barca call upon him in the second half of this season and beyond.
Watch highlights of Barcelona's La Liga clash at home to Granada on Sky Sports 3 HD from 9.30pm on Saturday.