Gremio have reportedly told Barcelona to shell out the €50 million release clause in Arthur Melo’s contract if they are to secure his services.
As reported by Daily Mirror, Gremio president Romildo Bolzan has iterated in an interview with RAC1 that suitors will have to pay €50 million to sign Arthur Melo. The Brazilian midfielder is being tailed by several top clubs across Europe, with Barcelona the favourites to land him.
Arthur has burst into the limelight upon his graduation into the first-team setup at Gremio, particularly this season, when the player has become a vital component in Renato Portaluppi’s side. His rapid advent in 2017 has also seen the youngster being called up to the Brazil National side for the first time in his career, although he is yet to make his senior debut.
His exploits have not just helped Arthur grab the attention of Tite, but also several top clubs across Europe – a sign of his growing stature in Brazil – and for good reason. The 21-year-old has made 39 appearances across all competitions for Gremio this season, having virtually been an ever present in midfield.
There is no way Arthur Melo doesn’t come now. Barça’s sporting director, our sporting director literally took a picture with him wearing a Barcelona jersey on. It’s 100% happening and i think he’s coming in January. pic.twitter.com/O0r6QHxFVA
— ᵁᴸᵀᴿᴬ® (@UltraAutistic) December 2, 2017
While he has just a solitary goal and an assist to show for his efforts, the same is the case because he usually operates at the centre of the park, dictating play from deep in midfield and creating space with his close control, while also creating chances for his teammates up front with his smart passing ability.
These qualities and more have seen Barcelona make a beeline for his signature, with the club in search of a creative option to bolster Ernesto Valverde’s options in midfield. With the Blaugrana also scouring for options to replace Andres Iniesta in the long-term future, Arthur is a viable target.
But, Barcelona could also be looking at the Brazilian as an option in addition to Iniesta’s replacement, say Philippe Coutinho and the likes, considering the significant dip in Ivan Rakitic’s form over the last eighteen months or so.
The La Liga heavyweights though, will need to pay the big bucks to secure his services, with Gremio president Romildo Bolzan saying that negotiations will only be open if they pay his €50 million release clause.
21-year-old Gremio midfielder Arthur in Brasileirão this season:
3 yellow cards
82.2 passes per 90
93.1% pass accuracy
50 tackles won
22 key passes
Future Barcelona player? pic.twitter.com/1ZZLMezRAv
— FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) November 28, 2017
“Arthur has a contract with Gremio and a release clause of €50 million. If they pay that we can’t do anything but there is no conversation or negotiations open.”
However, Barcelona’s pursuit of the 21-year-old will not be smooth sailing, after Gremio were left angered by the player being snapped in the club’s shirt. The Brazilian outfit are now threatening to report Barcelona to FIFA for tapping up the player.
This situation is quite similar to the one Liverpool found themselves in during their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk in the summer, and with Barcelona finding themselves in a similar predicament, it is clear to see that their own chase for Arthur has run into some troubled waters.
It now remains to be seen if the Blaugrana can reconcile their differences with Gremio to finally make some headway in pursuit of Arthur, or if the roadblock proves to be the end of their pursuit.