I wasn’t really sure how this year could possibly get any worse for Barca, and then, lo and behold, the rumours surrounding Arthur begin.
Under normal circumstances I’d be more than comfortable with his assertion that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, and I’m absolutely certain that remains the case.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he doesn’t hold all the aces, and if there’s one thing that we can be assured, it’s that this board would sell their own grandmothers if they thought it would bring in the necessary funds.
Though they are at completely different stages of their midfield careers, we’ve seen in the space of six months how Ivan Rakitic has gone from certain starter to wanting a move away.
If the squeeze is really put on Arthur, I’d be very surprised if he were to pull off a Bale-esque ‘dig your heels in’ type move, so until the transfer window, whenever that may now fall, is over, he, and we, can take nothing for granted.
And yet, why he’s even apparently being considered for sale is baffling.
Even if we take into account a penchant for partying and a fitness level that needs improving, he’s still one player who brings absolute balance to the side.
There is a marked difference in terms of possession and control when he’s not on the pitch, and given that the same is something that we’re renowned for, it makes no sense to give it up.
Clearly, the apparent need to bring in big names to try and smooth over the appalling mismanagement of the past few months is high on the agenda, but doing so by letting go of one of the better players in the side, and one who will only get better, just smacks of the usual desperation.
Although having the moniker of the ‘new Xavi’ will more than likely have hindered Arthur rather than help him, the comparisons can’t be denied.
Arthur offers a glimmer of Barca’s past, but we’re hanging on to those glory days by our fingernails at present.
He makes the team tick and taking that influence out of the midfield will really sound the death knell for this Barca.
It will be the final nail in the coffin and isn’t a situation I wish to contemplate.
Ask yourself this. Would you really prefer to see a midfield of Coutinho, Busquets and De Jong next season?