Before struggling at Barcelona and Juventus, Arsenal transfer target Arthur Melo was dubbed the “Brazilian Iniesta.”
ARSENAL are reportedly close to adding Arthur Melo, a Brazilian midfielder, to their depleted midfield.
As they look for cover for Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny who are on AFCON duty, the Gunners are said to be close to finalising a loan deal for the former Barcelona talent from Juventus until the end of the season.
When he was playing for Gremio in Brazil, the now 25-year-old was compared to former Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta, who won the Brazilian league twice and the Copa Libertadores – South America’s Champions League.
It’s no surprise that he was signed for £30 million by the Catalans to replace the departing Iniesta in 2018.
He struggled to make an impression at the Nou Camp, and when Juventus offered £70 million for him last summer, he was on the move once more.
And Arthur has had a similar experience under Massimiliano Allegri in Turin, where he has struggled with the physicality of the Italian game.
Could he re-establish himself in North London?
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Arthur appeared to have the world at his feet at the age of 21.
When he emerged like a phoenix from the flames at Gremio, he was heralded as the best thing to come out of South American football since Gabriel Jesus, who went on to star for Manchester City.
He was adored by the Imortal Tricolor faithful, and he guided the club to glory.
Arthur played a key role in their run to the Copa Libertadores final, which they won in a two-legged final against Lanus.
And as a player, it was easy to fall in love with him.
His balance and technique allowed him, like Iniesta, to give and receive the ball in a full 360-degree arc while maintaining possession and moving the ball with intelligent passes.
Scouts from Europe had taken notice.
In addition to Barcelona, an unnamed Premier League club is said to be monitoring the youngster’s progress.
The LaLiga team, on the other hand, took the initiative.
A month before Iniesta announced his departure from Barcelona for a lucrative contract in Japan, the club reached an agreement with Gremio in principle for Arthur.
The colossal £30 million fee revealed their feelings about the deep-lying playmaker.
They would build their team around him, signing Arthur to a six-year contract.
Another Barça legend predicted big things for the club.
“Arthur can usher in a new era at Barcelona,” said Xavi, a former talisman.
Whether it was the pressure of filling Iniesta’s shoes or adjusting to life in Europe,
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