Transfer News: Chelsea emerge as latest contenders to Barcelona in Arthur Melo pursuit

Chelsea have emerged as the latest suitors in pursuit of Gremio midfielder Arthur Melo and are looking to rival Barcelona for the Brazilian.

According to The Mirror, Barcelona have received another setback in pursuit of Gremio midfielder Arthur Melo. The Brazilian wa thought to be on the verge of joining the Catalan giants. But, it seems that is not the case and subsequently, they may find competition in Chelsea, who have emerged as suitors for the player.

Arthur was recently pictured in a Barcelona shirt alongside club representative Andre Curry last Friday – an event that infuriated Gremio, who have accused the club of attempting to tap up the Brazilian starlet, labelling their conduct as ‘unprecedented’.

Gremio have seen Arthur grow as a player from a budding youngster to the verge of becoming a full-fledged Brazilian international as the midfielder was called up by Tite to be a part of the senior squad. In Spain, the player is already being compared to the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, which makes Barcelona’s interest somewhat less surprising.

Arthur recent added another feather to his cap as he was adjudged Man of the Match in the final of Copa Libertadores as Gremio clinched the coveted South American competition.

Barcelona were somewhat confident of landing the 21-year-old. But, the controversy involving the club’s jersey and Arthur and the subsequent claims by Gremio that they shall not negotiate with the Catalan giants might put their pursuit in some danger.

Still, Arthur has a £44 million release clause in his contract, which means Barcelona should not be too concerned about Gremio’s will to negotiate. Chelsea’s interest could be fresh trouble for them.

Chelsea have been looking to reinforce their midfield, with Antonio Conte stretched for options in the said area. Tiemoue Bakayoko has not exactly made a good lasting impression till date and with the Blues competing on multiple fronts, the manager is looking to beef up his options in midfield.

While they have some of their own targets in mind, Chelsea have been also taking a closer look at players heavily linked to their peers as well. Jakub Jankto has emerged as a target for January and so has Arthur. The Blues are reportedly willing to meet the 21-year-old’s release clause, which would be music to the ears of Gremio and their officials.

Arthur seems to have some affinity towards Barcelona, but has denied all reports of an agreement in place.

Arthur said,“ On the Barcelona matter, they did speak with me. We had a meeting, but I want to say that there’s nothing final. Nothing has been defined and I did not sign anything. I am a Gremio player.”

Whether the jersey incident has indeed jeopardized Barcelona’s pursuit or not is a question that remains to be answered, despite strong hints in the affirmative. But, January should bring us some answers.

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