Arturo Vidal has become “the heart” of Barcelona and should be kept around at Camp Nou, says Gerardo Martino.
Questions have been asked of the Chile international’s future on a regular basis this season.
The 33-year-old has seen a return to Italy mooted, with Inter said to be keen on acquiring the former Juventus star.
Vidal has, however, remained a prominent figure in Barca’s plans.
The combative midfielder has taken in 42 appearances this season, to go with the 53 he made during a debut campaign in Catalunya.
There is clearly a role for him at La Liga giants, despite some questioning his value to the cause.
Martino believes the South American can be considered crucial to a rebuilding project at Barca that will need to be undertaken on the back of a disappointing 2019-20 season.
He is not one for the long-term future, as he approaches the end of a distinguished career, but has shown that he can be a key component in a star-studded squad.
Former Barca boss Martino told CDF: “I see Vidal as the heart of the team for what he gives, but also for the how he works, gets in the box and scores.
“I see him recovering from last year, which was not good. This has been a great year for Arturo and for me he could definitely stay at Barca.
“I have a particular weakness for Vidal. If I could have, I'd have brought him to Barcelona in that moment (2013-14).
“There are very personal decisions to take into account. We have to see how he feels with his family.
“I would ask if, since Xavi and Iniesta left, Barca's DNA has been represented so faithfully. I'm of the idea that Barca should have another type of player.”
Martino spent just one year at Barcelona in 2013-14, with the current Mexico coach admitting that an ill-fated stint at Camp Nou was the worst of his career.
He stands by that comment, but admits to being able to take some pride from having been offered the position in the first place.
The Argentine added: “It was a bunch of things, not just the fact of saying 'you liked or didn't like coaching Barca'.
“I was able to access a big institution, [something which] doesn't happen very often.
“When one looks over how the year went, how it was to be at such a big institution with so much media exposure, with such a great need to finish the year with an important achievement, evidently it was about much more than what I enjoyed or not.”