Barcelona is making its first purchase of the summer, and it’s an exciting one (even if we’ve known it was likely for some time).
Arthur Melo is coming to the Camp Nou from Gremio in Brazil, where the 21-year-old has won the Copa Libertadores and is a box-to-box talent who can operate in defensive or attacking functions.
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You can call him just Arthur, if you like.
The cost is approximately $36 million with a potential $11 million in incentives.
Having sent Paulinho on loan to Guangzhou Evergrande and Gerard Deulofeu to Watford while losing Andres Iniesta on a free transfer to Vissel Kobe, there are openings in Barca’s set-up.
According to a Barca release:
Arthur likes playing with quick touches and short, triangulating passes involving his teammates. One of his virtues is his ability to get open, which makes him a dangerous right-footed threat near the penalty area. At 172 cm tall (5 ft 8 in), Arthur also stands for his skill at protecting the ball and his eagerness to play vertically up the field.
Arthur has been on the Brasileirao’s top-rated players for two seasons and represents an interesting piece to Barcelona’s long-term puzzle. We expect we’ll be hearing plenty from him.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has reached an agreement with Brazilian club Gremio for the option to buy midfielder Arthur for 30 million euros ($37 million) plus variables that could reach 9 million euros ($11 million).
Barcelona said Sunday it can exercise the option for the 21-year-old player in July.
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The Spanish club says Arthur “is a talented midfielder who stands out for his passing ability,” is “excellent at protecting the ball” and is “a danger close to the opponent’s area.”
Arthur was key for Gremio when the Brazilian team won last year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club competition.
He has been a regular in Brazil’s youth squads and has a few call-ups to the full squad.
Arthur made his first-team debut with Gremio under former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Brazil’s Gremio has won the Recopa Sudamericana, beating Argentina’s Independiente 5-4 in a penalty shootout Wednesday night.
The two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate, with no goals scored after 120 minutes in the second.
The winners of last year’s Copa Libertadores overcame the holders of Copa Sudamericana after goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series, taken by Independiente’s striker Martin Benitez.
The Recopa is played between the champions of South America’s two most important tournaments.
Independiente played most of the match down to 10 players after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off after 38 minutes.
The Brazilians made most of the pressure until the end of extra time, but failed to score.
Gremio also won the Recopa in 1996.
Barcelona has again beaten out its league and global rivals for the next up and coming Brazilian star.
According to a report from Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, Barcelona has agreed with Gremio on a $49.4 million transfer fee for midfielder Arthur. The deal would see 60 percent of the fee go to Gremio and the rest to agents and the owners of part of the player’s rights.
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The 21-year-old’s deal is still subject to the standard medical tests, and wouldn’t go through until January 2019.
Arthur broke onto the scene as a permanent member of the Gremio first team in 2017, starting 27 league matches and nine times in the Copa Libertadores as a dominant holding midfielder.
Barcelona will likely look for him to play a similar role to countryman Paulinho or Sergio Busquets, controlling the tempo of the game with passing but also being able to quickly snuff out an attack.
Arthur created controversy in December when he was photographed wearing a Barcelona shirt. It was around then that news began to leak that Barcelona began negotiations for his services. According to other news reports, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Inter Milan were also interested in Arthur’s services.
“He’s a wonderful person. He’s got lots of titles, so maybe he can just leave this one to us.”
That’s Gremio youngster Luan after being told Real Madrid star and countryman Marcelo said he has a huge future in the game.
Luan and his teammates could make a lot more noise with a win in Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Real.
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Gremio edged Pachuca in extra time of its semifinal after Real came back to beat Al Jazira, and now hopes to become just the second non-European club to win the Club World Cup since 2007.
Brazilian clubs won the first three CWCs between 2000-06, but Corinthians claimed the lone Brazilian title since when it beat Chelsea in 2012.
Spanish clubs have won the last three finals, with Real sandwiching two around Barca’s 2015 win over River Plate.
The 24-year-old Luan won Olympic gold with Brazil in 2016, and has two caps with the national team.