As well as preparing to duel once again in El Clasico, Real Madrid and Barcelona are fighting to sign Arthur, one of the most promising talents in the game

Spain giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have been strongly linked with Grêmio sensation Arthur. The promising midfielder had a breakthrough year, where he helped the Rio Grande do Sul side conquer the Copa Libertadores, as he was named the best player in the two-legged final of the competition, against Argentinian opponents Lanus.

Barcelona or Real Madrid? It is certainly not an easy decision to make for a 21-year-old who has so long enjoyed playing with his idols on the console, but now finds himself being linked with two of the biggest clubs in Europe, and possibly having the opportunity to ply his trade right next to the best players in the world.

What makes Arthur special is his ability to retain possession, even when one or two defenders combine to put him under pressure and try to take the ball away from him. It is always risky when a deep-lying play-maker tries to take on opponents while he is located right in front of goal, because any mistake could be extremely costly. However, Arthur’s composure almost never lets him down. The central midfielder has the technical quality to drive the ball forward thanks to his dribbling skills, agility and short passing combinations to free himself from his markers and create spaces to exploit.

The Grêmista’s role is not just limited to to his abilities on the ball, as he never fails to amaze his doubters with his ever-improving work-rate. Don’t let his small stature fool you, for Arthur is capable of winning back the ball just as much as any other defensive midfielder in the league is.

All in all, he would be a suitable man-for-man replacement for former Barcelona midfielder star Xavi. Stylistically speaking, he draws comparisons with Iniesta in his ability to spin around and send the opponent the wrong way, but it is in Xavi’s deep-lying role where Arthur would be the perfect fit – especially with the Croatia international Ivan Rakitic often being criticized by the fans for his supposed drop in form.

Meanwhile at Real Madrid, the midfield is already packed. The recent Club World Cup winners arguably possess the best trio in the world, with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. On the bench, the Bernabeu side is not short of options either, as the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente are already struggling to get extra game-time. It would not make sense to sign yet another midfielder, unless they intend to offload someone else. But even then, it is still far likelier to get more minutes at Barcelona, than it would be at Madrid – at least, in theory.


There is no doubt about the potential of Arthur, but the youngster needs to be extremely careful with his next destination so that he avoids finding himself forced to warm the bench, and/or ending up with a series of loan spells, as is the situation with the likes of Lucas Silva and Gabriel Barbosa.

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