The recent signing of Brazilian midfielder Arthur signifies the dawn of a new era for Barcelona’s midfield.
The departure of club legend Andres Iniesta left the team with a huge hole to fill in the middle and with the club’s recent obsession with physicality it was a nice surprise to see the team sign a midfielder who epitomises the technical brilliance that Barcelona are known for.
Arthur undoubtedly has big shoes to fill though, and at just 21 years of age he’s likely to be a few years from reaching his peak, but the optimism surrounding the play of the young Brazilian is far from misplaced.
During his time with Gremio, Arthur has shown he has all the traits needed to replace a player of the calibre of Iniesta. His ability on the ball is exceptional, his passing is accurate and well thought out and his vision is sublime. He’s the total package.
Predominantly a defensive midfielder, Arthur’s ability to read the play and regain possession are likely to see his integration into Barcelona’s style happen quite quickly, but it’s his ability to feature as a deep lying playmaker that gives the most hope for his future success at the club.
One of the best examples of that playmaking occurred back in May of this year when Arthur and his Gremio team made light work of Santos FC. Arthur’s presence in midfield was immense. He played from box-to-box, defending and winning possession at one end and scoring and assisting goals at the other.
Few players have the ability to read a game like that of Xavi or Iniesta and whilst Arthur is young and still very much unproven at this level, he has shown he can read a game better than most. Watch any of his games and it’s apparent that his football I.Q is exceptional. At Gremio, his pass percentage was off the charts and it’s this precision that will see him become a future force for the Catalan club.
No doubt the jury is still out on the young Brazilian and with zero European football experience there’s likely to be a feeling out process for him but there’s a great deal to be excited about with his move to the club.