Ernesto Valverde could accept the signing of Arthur with open arms if a move from Gremio to Barcelona materialises. Yet the Blaugrana coach has made it perfectly clear that the 21-year-old midfielder is not a personal target of his.
Valverde "doesn't know much" about Arthur
“I know that there have been a lot of rumours, but I’ve heard them from afar. I don’t know much about the player to be honest, so I can’t give a strong opinion,” Valverde said after Barça’s 2-0 victory over Sporting CP in the Champions League.
It seems clear, therefore, that Pep Segura (technical secretary) and Robert Fernández (sporting director) are behind the pursuit of the player, who received a call-up to the Brazil national team this year.
Brazilian media outlet GloboEsporte recently published a photo of Arthur clad in a Barcelona shirt, alongside Fernández and André Cury - a representative of the club in Brazil and reportedly the person who persuade Neymar to join from Santos in 2013.
Gremio's Arthur ownership rights unclear
Unsurprisingly, that photo added fuel to rumours of Arthur’s departure, as well as provoking a disgruntled response from Gremio. Renato Portaluppi - the coach of the Copa Libertadores champions - has stated that he does not think Arthur will remain at the club, and Gremio recently rejected an offer of €35 million from an unnamed club. The player’s buy-out clause is €50 million.
Arthur’s move away from Brazil could be complicated by the doubts that exist in respect of his economic rights. Some sources state that Gremio own 70 percent of his right, with the player himself, his agent Jorge Machado, and a company called Celso Rigo owning the rest. Other sources estimate the Porto Alegre club’s share to be closer to 60 percent.