As Arthur undergoes a medical in Turn, Ronaldo.com takes a look at what the Barcelona midfielder has to offer Juventus.
What seemed like a laughable rumour just a month ago has become a reality – Arthur Melo is posed to join Juventus, with Miralem Pjanic, plus an additional €10m to the €72m agreed on, to head to Barcelona as part of the deal.
The Italian press captured the moment Arthur arrived in Turin on Saturday night ahead of his medical at the J-Medical centre.
— Romeo Agresti (@romeoagresti) June 27, 2020
The 23-year-old plans to complete his medical and return to Barcelona later today to prepare for Tuesday’s clash with Atletico Madrid, where anything less than victory could be detrimental to their LaLiga title hopes.
Pjanic, meanwhile, is undergoing a medical himself at the moment ahead of this shock transfer. The two clubs struck an agreement last week, and it appears Juventus have convinced Arthur. So it’s all systems go unless something unexpected happens.
Both players will likely remain at their respective clubs until the 2019/20 season has officially ended in August.
But why are the Bianconeri so hell-bent on Arthur? And can the Brazilian exceed where Pjanic could not? Here on Ronaldo.com, we examine the reasons behind this trade.
The Pjanic problem
Juventus’ dull performances in the Coppa Italia were a wake-up call for everyone in Turin. It gave them something to consider, leading to this shock transfer.
The Bianconeri performed well in the opening period against AC Milan in the semi-finals, but faltered as the game progressed. They had nobody capable of distributing the ball upfield for the attackers. It’s been a problem all season. Even Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala acknowledged it in the Lyon defeat.
In fact, Juventus have only won by more than a one-goal margin 13 times in their 40 games across all competitions this season.
Not helping matters is Pjanic’s recent performances. The Bosnian had high hopes for this season, as Sarri planned to make him arguably the most important member of the squad. The target was to make 150 touches-per-game.
Despite a decent start, however, Pjanic has fallen below expectations. He rarely manages 100 touches, let alone 150, in matches. Even in the 4-0 win over Leece, the midfielder made just 87 compared to Juan Cuadrado’s 104.
Therefore, the Juventus chiefs have decided to offload Pjanic this summer for Sarri’s #1 target Arthur. The Italian plans to build his team around the Barca man. Only time will tell us how this one pans out.
“He’ll be with us until the end of August,” Sarri recently said on Pjanic’s future.
“I hope he’ll stay with us even beyond that, but these are decisions that will be made at a later stage.”
The only thing we can take for certain from this latest development is that Juventus remain fully committed to Sarri’s project.
Juve are the big winners in this deal
Arthur is one of the most exciting young midfielders in the world and would be a coup for Juventus. He’s calm on the ball, capable of carrying it under pressure, and can take challenges.
It was only just under two years ago everybody was singing Arthur’s praises. His early impact for Barcelona was impressive. In fact, supporters compared his playing style to club legend Xavi Hernandez.
“Arthur I didn’t know that much about but he seems similar to Xavi. He’s very safe and trustworthy. He has the La Masia style,” said Lionel Messi.
“Playing short passes, without losing the ball, and he grasped it quickly, the dynamic of the team.”
The 23-year-old’s ability to protect the ball serves him well in searching for that last killer pass. His excellent vision and passing skills enable him to find teammates with ease, which is something Juventus are lacking.
Sarri evidently feels Arthur would make a great fit for his fast-paced, possession-based style of attacking football. The midfielder may even excel in it; especially with the short and quick passes.
Although the former Gremio star has struggled this season, looking inconsistent and slow on the ball. Therefore, Quique Setien has seemingly dropped him for the exciting Riqui Puig.
A look at Arthur’s stats for this season, however, show that he’s completed 91.5% of his passes this season, which is the fourth-best record out of the Barcelona regulars. He is also averaging 67.8 accurate short passes every 90 minutes.
So all in all, Arthur could become a quality and promising addition to the Old Lady squad.
The only question left hanging is why Barcelona are going ahead with this deal? On paper at least, it seems absurd to swap a promising 23-year-old Arthur for a 30-year-old Pjanic.
The only possible explanations are the need to balance the books at Camp Nou and Arthur’s injury problems in the last two seasons, which have caused him to miss around 22 games.
Either way, Josep Maria Bartomeu will have a lot to answer to in his latest series of questionable decisions as Barcelona president.