Barcelona Explain Decision to Swap Arthur for Miralem Pjanic

Arthur Melo

Getty Arthur will join Juve in the summer

Barcelona’s decision to sell 23-year-old Brazil international Arthur and bring in 30-year-old Miralem Pjanic from Juventus has left many supporters scratching their heads.

Pjanic’s quality is not in doubt but Arthur was expected to play a big part in Barcelona’s future after arriving from Gremio in 2018 on a six-year deal. Instead, he will leave for Juventus at the end of the current campaign after just two seasons in La Liga.

The transfer of the two players has been met with criticism and has even been described as a “business move but for all the wrong reasons” by ESPN’s Sid Lowe.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been asked about the deal in an interview with RAC1 and attempted to explain why Barcelona were so keen to swap midfielders with Juventus.

“Arthur’s issue is first a sporting decision, also an economic one, but the technical secretariat has wanted Pjanic for a long time. That Arthur went mid-season is because of an exceptional season, not to balance the books. There are other players with offers and the price is determined by the offer and demand.”

Barcelona will sell Arthur to Juventus for $81m plus €11m in variables, while Pjanic will move the other way for $73m on a four-year deal.

Pjanic Ready for Barcelona Challenge

Pjanic may have work to do to win over Barcelona supporters when he arrives at the club, but he’s certainly looking forward to the challenge of playing for Quique Setien’s side in La Liga.

He told Klix that Barcelona is the only club he would have left Juventus for and that moving to the Catalan giants will be a high point in his career.

“It wasn’t easy to leave a club like Juventus. It was hard for me, but well, if I had to leave, then it could only have been a club like Barcelona. That was my only option. It’s a big challenge and the crown of my career.

“I don’t feel pressure for any reason. The transfer happened because all four sides, two clubs and two players accepted it.

“I have the pressure like any other footballer who plays in such a big club. At Juventus you have to win every game, and so too at Barcelona.”

Will Arthur Play for Barcelona Again?

Arthur has struggled for game time recently, particularly since the clubs announced he had agreed a move to Juventus. The Brazil international has played just four minutes for Barcelona, coming on as a late substitute in the 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.

Manager Setien was asked about Arthur’s lack of game time in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday and admitted things had changed for the midfielder at the Camp Nou.

“I will not say that he is in the exact same situation as before, evidently. We know he’s signed with another team but he’ll be here until our games are finished. He’s still training with the team, he’s shown desire and enthusiasm. Then there are decisions I have to make which depend on a lot of things.”

Setien’s comments and refusal to use Arthur in recent games, despite teams being allowed five substitutes per match currently, suggests fans may now see very little of the Brazilian in a Barca shirt before he heads off to Serie A.

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