The news that Arthur Melo is likely to be swapping the Camp Nou for Juventus stadium at the end of the 2019/20 campaign appears to be a real head scratcher on the face of it.
The player can’t be blamed because his stance has always been the same. Many times he’s expressed a desire to stay at Barcelona, and the only reason he could’ve reversed it is because the club have made it clear he’s for sale.
So, you have to ask what’s changed, given he was once touted as the ‘new Xavi.’Although it’s true to say he hasn’t quite hit the heights of his contemporary, the moniker should’ve never been given to him in the first place.
The midfielder didn’t stand a chance with consistent comparisons being made to one of the best to have ever played the game.
Furthermore, he is still only 23 years of age, and has a good 10 years left at the top level.
He should’ve been allowed to develop at his own pace, and swapping him for Miralem Pjanic, who has half of that left in him at best, makes little sense.
Perhaps it’s his penchant for a good party and burning the candle at both ends that has helped sway the decision makers at Barcelona.
Reprimanded more than once for travelling to meet Neymar and involving himself in all sorts of shenanigans isn’t likely to have been well received in the corridors of power at the Camp Nou.
Could it be that the board have made a connection between the party boy persona and a drop-off in form?
Injury concerns haven’t helped Melo’s cause either, but if you strip away all of the ‘excuses’ and just focus on his playing style, he hasn’t played well enough, often enough, either.
A master at keeping possession, his distribution has often been non-existent.
Where Xavi would have a keen eye for the opportunity developing ahead of him and almost always execute the pass, Arthur has dillied and dallied and often turned back on himself meaning the chance is gone.
If there’s one element of the deal that people are struggling with, it’s replacing Melo with a player seven years his senior, and for just a reported €10m less.
Taken in context, however, this might not be such a bad deal for the Catalans after all. Pjanic’s dream has always been to play at Barca and his professionalism is well known.
As with Arthur, the transfer fee or perceived idiocy of the deal isn’t his fault and all he can do is work hard and prove the naysayers wrong.
For Arthur, this was the perfect opportunity to cement himself at the very top, and he’s let it slip through his fingers.