Barcelona manager Quique Setien spoke about midfielder Arthur’s future at the club after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Athletic at the Camp Nou in La Liga.
Arthur struggled to impress during his time on the pitch and was replaced on 55 minutes by Riqui Puig, who went on to put in an impressive cameo for the Catalan giants.
Setien offered his thoughts on Arthur after the match and felt the Brazilian may have been affected by the speculation regarding his future, according to Jordi Gil at Sport.
“It may be affecting him, we are happy with the work he does, he is an important player for the work he does and we want him to focus. We need all the players, we will try to isolate ourselves from these situation, of this environment that manifests this, although we cannot control it. We will talk to him so that he can focus. It is a complicated situation, it is difficult to cope with all this.”
Arthur said in April the “only option” that interested him was staying at Barcelona. The 23-year-old has not changed his stance since then despite continued interest from Juventus, according to Ben Hayward at the Evening Standard.
Tough Night for Arthur
Tuesday’s match represented a chance for Arthur to shine as he was handed a place in the starting XI by Setien. Yet the midfielder found it tough going against an organised visiting side and did little to impress.
Arthur off and Riqui Puig on – would hope that's not Arthur's last game before he's sold. Must be super frustrating for him both on and off pitch. Didnt do much tonight, but also not much going on around him.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) June 23, 2020
Riqui Puig coming on for Arthur totally swung the game in Barcelona’s favor. Nothing too fancy — getting into the right spots, dishing it off quickly and looking to play 1-2s, breaking the lines — but just what they needed to break down Athletic. Him and Fati need more minutes.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) June 23, 2020
Indeed his replacement Puig was voted RAC1’s man of the match for his performance off the bench. Yet Arthur is likely to see more game time again on Saturday when Barcelona take on Celta Vigo at Balaidos.
Barcelona will be without Frenkie de Jong due to injury and Sergio Busquets because of suspension, leaving Setien short of options for the game against Oscar Garcia’s side.
Wins Put Barca Back on Top
Barcelona’s win puts the team back on top of the table, three points clear of Real Madrid who play Real Mallorca on Tuesday. The Catalan giants had to grind out the victory, and Setien admitted it had been a tough game, according to Marca’s Ramiro Aldunate.
“It’s not easy. When there are few spaces, you have to be agile and precise. We’ve been lacking that since we returned. This makes it difficult, but I think we’ll pick it up as the season goes on.”
“We’ve kept five clean sheets in a row, for which you have to give credit. We’ve taken maximum points from every game except one. There are things to improve, but we’re on the right track.”
Setien and Barcelona will hope Arthur can stay focused ahead of their final seven La Liga games of the season. The midfielder’s future has been the subject of speculation for some time now, and the rumors are showing no signs of easing up.