For the last few days, there were speculations doing the rounds in social media that Brazil’s brilliant central midfielder Arthur Melo would leave Barcelona and join Juventus. On June 25, 2020, Barcelona and Juventus have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic.

Having been skeptical of a move away from the Camp Nou, Arthur had already rejected a previous advance from the Turin club, but has now agreed to a five-year contract which will seem him earn a net salary of around 7 million euros per year.

As Marca reports, “Pressure from both clubs to make the move a reality had left his position at Barcelona very difficult, and in the meeting he had with Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes, they warned him of the club’s dire financial situation and that he may have to take a pay cut”.

“Whilst these measures were set to be implemented for the whole squad and not just the Brazilian, it was the acknowledgment that competition for places in midfield would make it unlikely he will play much next season”.

In this season, despite getting limited opportunities, the performance of Arthur has been up to the mark, but still, when you are not counted as someone important for the future build-up and wasted on the bench time and again in a so-called Cruyff-system, then surely, you have to make a wise decision rather than being too emotional to stay in a club where the emphasis is more on one individual’s comfort zone!

Arthur has made a very good decision to leave Camp Nou. Under Maurizio Sarri he would be given the best of freedom and a lead role in the midfield. And that is what players like Arthur needs the most.

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Arthur is someone who plays on the left side of midfield he would transition into higher or lower positions in relation to the attack of opposition – dropping deeper when pressed and moving high up the pitch himself when applying the “gegenpress”. His abilities to pass the ball under pressure, twist and turn while keeping his head up all the time and retain possession do, however, make it rather difficult to stay away from them altogether.

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Gifted with excellent ball-control, he is difficult to dispossess when on the ball; he often utilizes his dribbling skills to great effect, and is known for using a feint known as ‘la pelopina’. Although he is not known for his goalscoring ability, he still is able to contribute to his team’s offensive play by providing assists and “pre-assists”. A versatile midfielder, he is capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker, central midfielder, box-to-box midfielder, and occasionally also as a holding midfielder.

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His agility, technical ability, dribbling, and movement – both on and off the ball – allow him to create space and control the flow of play in midfield, whilst his exceptional vision, playmaking ability, and precise passing allow him to retain possession, create chances, and make decisive passes for teammates.

During a match against Valencia, he attempted 142 passes, 135 of them successful; this was the highest number of successful passes in a single La Liga away game that any player had produced since Xavi in November 2012 against Levante.

Arthur’s highest pass accuracy in a single match with Barcelona is 98.6%, which he achieved when he completed 71 passes out of 72 attempted in a Champions League knockout match against Lyon in 2019.

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Regarded as a promising young prospect in world football, former Barcelona midfielder Iniesta has praised Arthur, stating that his presence in midfield is highly positive for Barcelona’s future.

In 2020, former midfielder Enzo Maresca stated that he felt Arthur was best suited to the roles of either an attacking midfielder or a mezzala.

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The specialty of Arthur is that he is the master in breaking the lines and build up moves like legendary Didi and Gerson – though it is too early to draw a comparison with these two legendary Brazilians, Arthur has that ability to boss the midfield.

Sarri emphasizes a lot in midfield. Even though he starts with a 4-3-3 formation it takes a 4-4-2 shape with a diamond midfield. The Serbian Pjanic used to play deep as a free-man and win the ball from the two attackers, who occupied both sides of him.

But this might not be the scenario in case of Arthur, he would not play as a marker, but more as a Regista like Didi, Gerson, and Pirlo. His vision and creativity would be a great value to Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.

Juventus have signed a gem and one expects Arthur to become better in each match.

 

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