As the transfer season edges closer, the rumour mill has started to churn out blockbuster deals involving many big-name players and clubs.
Barcelona and Juventus have been reportedly in talks for a swap deal involving Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic.
A couple of days ago, a report from Spanish publication Sport revealed that both teams had agreed on a move, which was later refuted by reports from Football Italia.
Having said that, Juventus CFO Fabio Paratici recently revealed that they had indeed opened up a dialogue with Barcelona, and are not against the idea of ‘swap deals’.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, football clubs’ finances have taken a huge hit, and even European heavyweights like Juventus and Barcelona aren’t immune to the situation. Therefore, they are looking to explore options such as like-for-like swap deals, which wouldn’t hinder the financial aspects of either team.
If the Arthur-Pjanic swap deal were to go through, which team would benefit more from such a move?
Here we try to shed light on how both players would fare if they were to be exchanged:
Why the proposed Arthur-Pjanic swap deal makes sense?
Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri is keen to add to his midfield options, particularly a deep-lying playmaker. Miralem Pjanic began life well under the new coach this season, but he’s struggled to influence matches from the holding midfield position.
Arthur meanwhile, joined Barcelona in 2018 from Brazilian club Gemio, and after a difficult debut season, he’s been linked to an exit. While the player remains adamant to stay put and fight for his place, the Catalan giants are seeking to generate cash from player sales.
They are actively tracking Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, but do not have the funds to sign him, and as a consequence, the La Liga champions are looking to move on Arthur.
Pjanic, for his part, is open to the idea of joining Barcelona, after four seasons with the Old Lady. He sees playing for the Blaugrana a once in a lifetime opportunity, and now that he’s 30 years old, it would be the perfect time to make a switch.
While both Juventus and Barcelona are still poles apart on the respective valuation of their players, from a sporting perspective, the deal surely does make sense.
What would Arthur bring to Juventus?
The Brazilian midfielder was initially signed as an apparent heir to Andres Iniesta. Due to his ball retention abilities, Arthur appeals a lot to Maurizio Sarri, who has tracked the player’s progress since he joined Barcelona.
The 23-year-old likes to play short-passes and can dictate the tempo of the game. It’s very similar to what Jorginho did under Sarri at Napoli.
Arthur is a player who can be an instant success at Juventus because he would have support from some of the best midfielders in Adrien Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi, Aaron Ramsey, and Sami Khedira.
The former Gremio man has four goals and as many assists in 23 matches for Barcelona this season, a huge improvement from his last year’s stats.
Moreover, because of his age, the Old Lady could also sell the player after a few years, thereby recovering their investment. Signing Arthur is a no-brainer from Juventus’ perspective.
What would Pjanic bring to Barcelona?
The Bosnian is an immensely gifted player, renowned for his technique, and vision. He offers a big-threat from set-pieces, and would perfectly complement Barcelona’s possession-based football philosophy.
Pjanic has played 32 matches for the Serie A giants this season, and despite being deployed in the midfield anchor’s role, he contributed three goals and four assists before the break.
If played alongside Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets, the midfield trio would definitely wreak havoc on opposition teams. But the problem is that he’s a short project.
Unlike Arthur, Pjanic isn’t going to get better with age and therefore Barcelona would get no resale value on the latter.
Moreover, given his achievements with Lyon, Roma and Juve, Pjanic would likely command more salary than Arthur, which would be another potential stumbling block, given Barca are saving money to spend elsewhere.
Who among Juventus or Barcelona would profit more from such a deal?
Swap deals may not involve transfer fees, but it does inflate the salary package, and obviously Pjanic being an established player unlike Arthur would cost Barcelona more.
Taking into account all the factors mentioned above, the Bianconeri would profit more from the proposed swap deal, as they’d be getting their hands on a young player with high resale value and greater potential.
Pjanic would be a great short-term fix, but Barcelona would be better off with Arthur, who has shown good signs of progress since arriving at the Camp Nou.
All stats courtesy: Transfermarkt.co.in