Having excited all fans since his opening days at his dream club Barcelona, midfielder Arthur Melo is now pushed out by Barcelona’s board.
The signing of Arthur Melo in 2018 generated a lot of buzz among Barcelona fans. Said to have the playing style of the legendary midfielder Xavi Hernández, the young prospect was set to be a major part of the club’s midfield. Yet two years on, he seems to be on his way out the door. What happened in this period that led to this unexpected outcome?
Arthur Melo is one of the most promising midfielders in the world. Calm in possession and able to resist pressure from the opposition, the Brazilian fits perfectly into Barcelona’s style. His stats over the last two years might not be incredible, but they hide what he gives to the club. Capable of carrying the ball, Arthur can often take on challenges and doesn’t panic on the ball. He might not be the paciest or strongest midfielder, but his passing certainly makes up for it.
Arthur is most known for his vision, passing and touch. He can string together balls that easily break down even the toughest of defences. He might not attempt as many as Xavi Hernández, but that is a trait that he will develop with experience. The former Grêmio youngster can find teammates with ease, and is more than good enough when it comes to positioning.
Arthur’s dream is coming to an abrupt end | Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP via Getty Images
While he can sometimes invade the wrong zones, he always makes himself available for a pass, supporting others when he can and effectively forming triangles in midfield. His passing stats are astonishing, with the Barça man completing 90.88% of his passes and attempting 67.8 passes per 90. They are flattering for a 23-year old and indicate what a bright future he has.
Arthur has flourished under Quique Setién when fit. His expected goals, xG, and expected assists, xA, have both increased in Quique’s 12 games in charge. He has great chemistry with his partners in crime, Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong. Moreover, the player himself has said that it has always been his dream to play for the blaugranas. Then why, if all the facts and figures are positive, and the footballer himself wants to stay, is this transfer falling through?
It has all got to do with the board. They have been reckless over the last few years. Spending hundreds of millions of euros on players has left the club in a money crisis. FC Barcelona desperately need to balance the books and are hence offering Arthur as a sacrifice. There is no denying that Miralem Pjanić, who will be bought in return, is an extremely talented player. But his age is against him and there is uncertainty regarding his compatibility with the squad, whilst Arthur fits in like a glove.
In his time as president, Josep Maria Bartomeu has made several questionable decisions and this will certainly be one of them. Arthur Melo has been prone to injury, missing 22 games in two seasons, but so have many of the other first team member. There just isn’t enough evidence to justify the transfer.
Arthur Melo’s first year at Barcelona was everything fans could have asked for in a youngster moving from Brazil | Photo by Celso Bayo via Imago
The board’s lack of confidence in Arthur is what made him change his mind. It will be another one of several decisions that the club may come to regret. Undoubtedly, Barcelona will miss him dearly. If youngsters like Riqui Puig fail to stand up and perform, even if faith must absolutely be had in him, then the club’s midfield will be incapable of maintaining intensity over the long, congested season.
It could be said that the funds will be used to buy young attacking talents such as Lautaro Martínez, but there’s only so much that a good attack can do. Without a good, bright midfield to help in the transition from defence to offence, the azulgranas will suffer.
Having a world-class attack is worthless without a midfield to supply and create chances. The likes of Carles Aleñá and Carles Pérez are just few of the youngsters who have had to leave. Replacing a bright young star with an ageing midfielder is just another point which proves the board’s lack of judgement.
Barcelona has already lost several talents and money owing to the board’s inability to trust youngsters. It has reached a point where logic fails to explain their management. The Catalan club needs to learn from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea or Julian Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig. The large majority of culés are against this transfer and everyone will rue the loss of Arthur.
With just the final details remaining, the transfer is on the brink of being completed. Just how much it will affect the club remains to be seen, but there is no questioning that repercussions will be there. As said earlier, change is needed at the Camp Nou, but maybe it is the board what must change before Barcelona can go any further.
Five players that Barcelona could off-load in order to sign Erling Haaland
In Catalonia, many news outlets are reporting that President-elect Joan Laporta is keen to bring the Norwegian sensation, Erling Braut Haaland, to Barcelona. Laporta’s excellent ties with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola are known throughout the footballing fraternity. He is keen to use this cordial relationship to bring probably one of the most talented young centre-forwards to Camp Nou.
Haaland’s Contract situation
There have been many rumours about Haaland’s contract and his release clause. It’s said that Dortmund have let in known privately that Haaland’s contract includes a release clause of €75 Million. However, this is valid only from 2022; if any club wishes to sign him before, they need to open talks with Borussia Dortmund and his agent Mino Raiola.
With all said, it looks certain that almost every big club in the world will be looking to land this deal which is rumoured to cost €110 Million. Barcelona’s precarious financial situation means that Laporta and his team needs to make a decision to make some big sales in order to complete the dream of signing Haaland. We take a look at 5 players that Barca can sell in order to get the required funds.
The market value of the Brazilian currently stands around €47 Million. After his very successful loan spell at Bayern Munich, he publicly stated that he was determined to make it big at Barcelona. Ronald Koeman also said that he admires the qualities Coutinho has and would be an integral part of his project. However, six months into the season, it seems that the Brazilian has gone out of favour at the club. The emergence of Pedri and Moriba also doesn’t help his case. It has been reported that if Coutinho plays 100 matches for the Blaugranes, the club will need to pay an additional €20 Million to Liverpool.
Given the fact that Barcelona have many parasitic clauses in the contract with former Liverpool player, it’s very doubtful that any club would be willing to offer what his market value is. A long term injury which has forced him out for a big chunk of the season will also play a part in deciding the transfer sum the Catalan club can get in the transaction.
The French forward has not been able to fit perfectly in the system Barcelona plays, he has produced some good performances in the new year, but lacks the ability to move the ball quickly and take on defenders. Former Barca legend, Hristo Stoichkov, had some very harsh words for Griezzy, “Whenever Griezmann is on the pitch, Barcelona play with ten players. If they want to do something in the long term, they have to sell him. Trincao and Braithwaite must be on the team. What is Griezmann doing there?”, said the Bulgarian to Marca.
Griezmann is currently valued at €58 Million, given his wonderful finishing and relentless work off the ball, many big clubs might be interested in getting his services. The French forward will turn 30 this month, a number many clubs will be looking at very closely while making their decision to sign him.
The Danish forward, without any doubt, is a very hardworking player and has improved on various skills of forward play in his time at Barcelona. With that said, it’s a no brainer to realise the fact that he cannot be Barcelona’s only No.9. Many PL clubs from the bottom half are rumoured to be fond of the former Leganes man. With Barcelona targeting Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay, the danish would certainly become a fringe player and the club will be open to hearing offers for him.
The Dominican Republic fullback was brought in with the motive to give Jordi Alba some competition at the left-back spot. Under all the three managers Barcelona has had during his tenure at the club did not play him much. Barcelona were open to selling him in the January window itself with Inter Milan in the pole position to acquire his services. However, due to some personal reasons, the move was stalled and Junior ended up staying for the remainder of the season.
The Bosnian midfielder was part of what one can say the worst deal that Barcelona has ever made. It’s a relatively known fact that Pjanic was a part of the deal which was meant to ‘balance the books’ by the Bartomeu administration. The former Juventus man has failed to add anything new to the squad and has been out of favour for a long time now. A deal that would see him go to some other big club in Europe would benefit both parties.
The Twist: Leo Messi
After the very unfortunate leaking of Messi’s contract, the entire world is aware of the astronomical contract he has. If the Argentine wizard decides to leave eventually at the end of the season, the club will surely free a very big amount from the wage bill which can be used to make some necessary additions to this squad.
It remains to be seen how things will pan out in the coming summer, but one thing is for sure that Barcelona needs to clear a lot of their squad depth in order to realize the dream to bring the Haaland to Camp Nou.
Jorge Messi will travel to Barcelona on Monday to listen to Barça’s offer, where they will offer him a renewal for another 3 years.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 13, 2021
— TNT pic.twitter.com/ld93SO6JKV
A thing that can be said with certainty is that Laporta is keen to make the signing of Haaland a reality, and come July, Barca will be into the most important transfer window of their history which will shape the future of the club for many years to come.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com