Arthur arrived at Barcelona when barely anybody knew him. He was being hyped as a talent but the possibility of him not fitting into the squad was somewhat high. Reports of his teammates being impressed in training were flooding social media when he first joined his new colleagues and finally, there was some hope.
While a lot of focus has been put on his golazo against Tottenham Hotspur, there was perhaps a minor moment during the first half that made me realize this Brazilian was a special player. Early on, when Barça and Tottenham were struggling to keep hold of the ball for longer than a handful of passes, there was a moment when Denis Suarez received a pass in space and Arthur rushed next to him to tell him to calm down.
The game was chaotic and Arthur saw that the tempo had to be slowed down to get control. He went up to Denis and asked him to pass the ball back instead of rushing forward into defenders and conceding possession. Almost immediately, the momentum shifted in Barça’s favour and the Catalans cruised through the half. This type of play is reminiscent of arguably the greatest controller of all time, Xavi Hernández. While the comparison may be too steep in terms of quality, it is apt in terms of mindset and approach to the game.
Arthur is set for big things at Barcelona and we may have truly bought a hidden midfield gem this time around.