A lot has been written about just how bad former Barcelona sporting director, Robert Fernandez, was at his job, without paying him due respect for the good work he did whilst at the club.
One of his best deals, without question, was to bring Arthur Melo to the Camp Nou.
Aside from the furore surrounding a picture of the player with Fernandez and holding a Barca shirt before he’d left Brazil, the hire of the former Gremio midfielder could well go down as the best recent piece of business the club have conducted.
Arthur Melo vs Girona:— Sameer (@Sameer_R13) January 27, 2019
32 minutes played
35 passes (94% success rate)
4/4 long balls
4/5 duels won
4 fouls suffered
Just 22 years of age, the weight of the Barcelona shirt hasn’t been at all heavy for a player who looks like he’s been at La Masia all of his life.
Sure, he had a sticky period a couple of months ago, but that’s to be expected when immersing oneself in a new culture and way of living. Now out of the other side of that funk, he’s dazzling La Liga again with his repertoire.
Arturo Vidal looked none too pleased when having to make way for his younger contemporary, but even the Chilean would surely have looked on with grudging appreciation as Arthur upped the tempo and got Barca ticking again.
We saw a magnificent cameo in just over 30 minutes on Sunday, and there was a noticeable change in the way Barca controlled the game after Arthur’s introduction.
Arthur Melo vs Girona.— Teto (@FrenkieStats) January 27, 2019
Such simplicity underscores his best performances, and there were no ‘Hollywood’ passes, just short give and go’s and the occasional cross field ball to feet.
I’ve seen it written elsewhere that Arthur is a ‘boring’ player but that has to be by someone who clearly knows nothing about football.
Comparisons with Xavi and Iniesta were, I suppose, inevitable, but I’m not a fan of those. Arthur’s first interview with the club showed that he wasn’t either. Being judged on one’s own merits is just fine.
Frenkie de Jong, when he arrives, will enjoy the freedom of being able to maraud forward as he’s frequently done in the Eredivisie. That he’ll have such a free reign will be down to the discipline of the Brazilian.
Frenkie De Jong and Arthur Melo are two best young midfielders in the world.— N (@EnjoyDeJong) January 24, 2019
More than anything, that’s what he brings to Barcelona’s midfield at the moment. Order. There’s a sense of safety when he’s in possession.
Given the astronomical prices being quoted for players in each transfer window now, the initial €31 million paid for Arthur is looking like the bargain of the century already.
Rarely have Barca been able to purchase a player that is so obviously attuned to their way of playing, and there’s little doubt that he’s set to govern the centre of the park for years to come.