Barça’s motivation behind the deal
MIAMI, Fla. (1 July 2020) — Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo has joined Juventus in a transfer worth up to €82 million, the two clubs announced on Monday.
As part of the transaction, Miralem Pjanic joins the Blaugrana. Pjanic, 30, a Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder, joins FC Barcelona for a fee of €60 million, plus €5 million in possible add-ons. His contract with Barça runs for four years (June 30, 2024). The contract contains a release clause of €400 million, the same amount that Arthur had in his contract with Barcelona. Pjanic had been on Barcelona’s radar in recent seasons. and welcomed the move to Catalunya.
Juve will pay Barça €72 million for Arthur with a further €10m in potential add-ons.
Both players will remain with their current teams for the duration of their respective domestic campaigns, which means they will also both be available for the Champions League in August. It is possible that they would have to play each other (and against their future teams) in that tournament, which has been moved to Lisbon.
Arthur, 23, signed a five-year deal with Juventus, and according to media reports he will earn much more than he is currently earning at Barcelona. The Brazil international was in Torino on Sunday where he underwent his medical exam prior to signing his contract.
After singing his new contract, Arthur flew back to Barcelona for training on Monday. He told his teammates that he will continue to give one hundred percent to Barcelona until the team plays its last game of the season. The Blaugrana played Tuesday evening in a Round 33 La Liga game at the Camp Nou against Atlético de Madrid, and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Arthur did not feature for Barcelona last night.
It was a transfer that Arthur was always against. Throughout negotiations, Arthur, whom Barcelona paid €30 miilion to sign from Porto Alêgre side Grêmio in 2018, had always expressed his desire to stay with Barcelona. Arthur’s contract with Barça was for five years which would have expired on the 30th June 2023, equivalent to the maximum contract length allowed by FIFA, although there was an option to extend his stay for another season.
He released a statement in April explaining he was going nowhere and in May he told both Juventus and Barcelona that he had no intention of changing clubs. Against his wishes, the two clubs continued to negotiate for a deal, and with the pressure from Barcelona unrelenting, Arthur finally agreed. The amount of Juve’s offer was simply too good to refuse.
Grêmio also benefit
The news of the transfer was well-received on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Grêmio have contractual rights to 3.5 percent of the transfer fee Juventus paid to Barcelona under FIFA’s Solidarity Mechanism, for being one of Arthur’s two formative clubs. Thus, the Brazilian club will receive € 2.45 million (R$ 14,97 milhões) from the transfer.
Arthur had been compared to Xavi in his first few months at Barca. But, over the past year, the prevailing opinion was that Arthur had not developed as club management had hoped. past year, though the primary reason for the sale is financial.
However, the primary motivation for Barcelona to agree to the transfer was heavily-centred on finances. ESPN reported in May that Barcelona needed to bring in around €70 million in player sales before June 30. There were a number of reasons for that, including the fact the budget had presumed €124 miliion in sales for the 2019-20 season. On top of that, the Catalán giants had losses accumulated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the board of directors faced the possibility of recording huge losses for the financial year.
Because Barcelona is a club owned by its members, a huge financial loss could leave the board liable in court to the club’s members, on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duties to the club. The board potentially ran the risk of having to personally guarantee any losses moving forward, due to the complicated legislation surrounding the ownership model for member-owned clubs in Spain.
By selling Arthur, the board hopes not to be in that scenario. The money that is recorded on the books for the transfer of Pjanic in to the club will be amortised over the course of his five-year contract. Last June, Barcelona conducted a similar sort of transaction when they transferred goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen to Valencia, in exchange for goalkeeper Neto. Again, the transactions were technically separate deals worth around €30m each. (The concept of trading players as part of a single transaction that is prevalent in North American sports is rare in European football.)
In Torino, Arthur is envisioned by Juve manager Maurizio Sarri as the new key player in Juventus’ midfield. He definitely has the potential to fill that role.
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