Arsenal step up Arthur Melo chase but deal may rest on Ruben Loftus-Cheek move from Chelsea to Juventus as Italian club need replacement January 14, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Arsenal’s hopes of completing the loan signing of Arthur Melo from Juventus hinge on the Serie A club’s ability to find a replacement, talkSPORT understands.
Talks began last week regarding bringing the Brazilian to the Emirates and the Gunners have now stepped up their interest.
The 25-year-old has been identified as a suitable solution to Arsenal’s midfield woes, with Granit Xhaka’s sending off of the season against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup raising serious questions.
Arthur signed for the Old Lady from Barcelona back in June 2020 but he has only featured for his side 29 times.
Joining as part of a swap deal for Miralem Pjanic, Arthur attracted the Italian side following a stellar campaign with Barcelona in which he was labelled by then-boss Quique Setien as an ‘extraordinary‘ player who ‘understands everything‘.
However, fast forward 18 months, injuries and competition for a spot in Juventus‘s starting XI have prevented him from truly hitting the ground running.
Given that Arthur is not receiving sufficient game time at the Allianz Stadium, guaranteed football at Arsenal may well be a perfect fit for all parties.
However, talkSPORT sources understand that Juventus are reluctant to let the midfielder go without a replacement in place.
One of the candidates Juve are looking at is Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has impressed in his limited minutes under Thomas Tuchel but is not guaranteed regular game time.
Speaking White and Jordan, talkSPORT’s transfer insider Alex Crook explained: “One player very much in the frame for Arsenal is that of Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo.
“It’s my understanding that the face to face talks between the Juventus board and the player are due for today as he looks to push through a move to the Premier League.
“This is a player once compared by Lionel Messi to the Barcelona legend Xavi.
“He’s lost his way a little bit in Turin. There’s still a reluctance from Juventus to let him go without a replacement, with one possible replacement being Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea.
“This is a deal that Arsenal are really hoping that they can get done.”
Mikel Arteta is desperately looking to bolster his side’s midfield options this window after being forced to play youngsters Charlie Patino and Albert Sambi Lokonga in their 1-0 FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners are particularly light on personnel to play in the middle of the park, with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny’s current international duties at the Africa Cup of Nations weakening the Arsenal squad.
Emile Smith Rowe and Granit Xhaka were both absent in the FA Cup fixture due to the former suffering from a tight groin and the latter testing positive for Covid-19.
Xhaka will now be out for an extended period after returning to the Gunners line up against Liverpool before quickly picking up his second red card of the season.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has also been allowed to join AS Roma and, as a result, Martin Odegaard and Albert Sambi Lokonga are the the only senior midfielders available to the Gunners.
Speaking following the defeat on Friday, the Arsenal boss said: “We are going to move, and we are going to look for options because we are very short there.”
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