Arthur’s Transfer To FC Barcelona All But Complete… For Now


The agreement between FC Barcelona and Brazilian club Gremio de Porto Alegre, for the purchase option and transfer cost to acquire midfielder Arthur Henrique Ramos de Oliveira Melo -- simply known as "Arthur" to millions of football fans around the world -- has been in place reportedly as far back as early March.

However, Barça will have to wait until July of 2018 in order to exercise the option, and will have to pay upwards of €39 million to execute the move.

The talented midfielder has "stayed home" in his native country of Brazil for most of his career, winning a Brazilian Cup and the Copa Libertadores with Gremio. In the past, he represented Brazil in U17 and U20 events, and though he's been called up to the nation's "full squad" on multiple occasions, he has yet to officially play alongside superstars like Paulino and Coutinho.

Arthur will also lose the chance to play with another talented -- if not aging -- superstar in Andres Iniesta. The 33-year old Iniesta is expected to finalize his move to the Chinese Super League at the end of the 2018 season, after he previously confirmed that this would be his last season at Camp Nou. Arthur publicly stated his disappointment in not being able to suit up alongside Iniesta, saying Iniesta was something of a role model to him, and his style of play was something that Arthur emulated.

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But Iniesta's departure only mildly tempered his excitement for joining Barça. Having watched the squad's 5-0 victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, Arthur stated he was excited to "tie [his] future to Barcelona," and that the speed and skill of Barça's players -- including the legendary Lionel Messi -- translates well with his current style of play.

Arthur is seen by fans and foes around the world as a creative passer and an elusive ballhandler; his ability to shake defenders in the open field makes him a very dangerous creator on offense. He's very gifted at protecting the ball and delivering an opportune pass to teammates at the perfect moment.

While it's just a matter of time before the transfer is completed, Arthur is still excited about the prospects of playing with the guys from back home; specifically, in terms of World Cup 2018. At the moment, he is considered to be a "surprise" call-up (if it happens), though he's stated that going to the World Cup would be a dream for any player, including himself.

However, one final wrinkle to watch in Arthur's transfer process stems from Gremio's understated preference for waiting until this winter to complete Arthur's transfer, instead of the originally agreed-upon July timeline. Since the Brazilian season runs parallel to the calendar year, Gremio might prefer to have Arthur's services for the remainder of their season, and potentially force Barça's hand at the negotiating table when the transfer window opens in July. But whether Gremio is serious about this preference, or whether it's just a negotiating tactic, remains to be seen.

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