The much talked about Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic swap deal seems to be inching closer to its conclusion after prolonged discussions between all parties involved.
Sky Sports recently reported that Juventus have finally reached an agreement with Barcelona over the transfer of Arthur for a fee of €80 million.
While Pjanic remains open to a move to the La Liga giants, the Brazilian midfielder will need some persuading, as he is still not sure about moving to Italy.
Speaking after the Old Lady’s recent Serie A game against Bologna, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici revealed that they still need to ‘convince’ Arthur.
“We have spoken frequently with Barcelona, but at this moment all the teams are playing important games, so we preferred to bypass this period.
“It’s not about June 30, before or after, but about finding an agreement between the various parties, and both players have to be convinced. Therefore, it’s not an issue about dates.”Fabio Paractici
Juventus’ chase of Arthur Melo
After a stunning debut season with Barcelona in 2018-19, Arthur has fallen down the pecking order at the Camp Nou this term, having played just 27 matches all season, with injuries playing a major role for his absence.
Despite the 23-year-old’s recent struggles, Maurizio Sarri remains adamant to secure his signature, and build a team around Arthur, just like he did with Jorginho at Napoli previously.
It has also been reported that Juventus are trying to reunite Jorginho with his mentor again, but Chelsea coach Frank Lampard is adamant about keeping the Italian playmaker at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are under no financial constraints and, therefore, won’t be persuaded to part ways with Jorginho easily. Plus, no release clause in his contract means Chelsea can play hardball with Juventus.
As a consequence, Arthur remains Sarri’s first choice, and in return, the Italian manager is willing to sell Miralem Pjanic, who has struggled to adapt to the 61-year-old’s tactics and playing system.
While the transfer is still far from conclusion, how would Juventus line up if they are indeed successful in their pursuit of the Barcelona midfielder?
Here are three ways the Turin-based club can lineup with Arthur Melo next season.
#3 As part of a double pivot in 4-2-3-1
While it may be a less likely scenario, given Maurizio Sarri’s preference for a 4-3-3 formation, if he does revert to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 formation, then Arthur Melo can play in a double-pivot alongside the dynamic Adrien Rabiot.
Arthur’s ball retention capabilities combined with the attacking and defensive prowess of Rabiot would make them an ideal pairing in the centre of the park.
Further up the pitch, Paulo Dybala would get to play in his preferred no. 10 role, flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo/Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi/Juan Cuadrado.
#2 As a midfielder pivot in 4-3-1-2
Maurizio Sarri has deployed this formation 15 times as the head coach of Juventus, and so there’s a high probability that he could continue to do so next season as well. In such a scenario, Arthur would act as a direct replacement for Pjanic.
The Brazilian can seamlessly slot into the base of the midfield diamond, flanked by Adrien Rabiot and Blaise Matuidi. Aaron Ramsey or Paulo Dybala may slot into a more advanced role, playing behind the two strikers, Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain.
This formation would enable Sarri to get the most out of all the players at his disposal.
#1 As a deep-lying playmaker in 4-3-3
The signing of Arthur from Barcelona would also enable the Italian coach to revert back to his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation, wherein the latest recruit would sit in a deep-lying playmaker’s role.
The likes of Matuidi, Rodrigo Bentancur, Rabiot, and Ramsey would, therefore, compete for the remaining two midfield berths.
The most lethal factor of such a system would enable Sarri to unleash the trio of Ronaldo, Dybala, and Higuain with Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi all capable of making an impact from the bench.