Reports: Chelsea and Manchester United battle for Brazilian star as Barcelona lose out
Philippe Coutinho's purchase has blocked Barcelona from signing him
What's the story?
Manchester United have entered the race for Brazilian starlet Arthur Melo, as they are locked in a battle with Chelsea for the Gremio sensation's signature, according to multiple reports in the British press. Barcelona have filled their quota of non-European players and are thus out of the running for the midfielder, although Real Madrid still retain their interest. Gremio are holding out for a club that is willing to pay Arthur's release clause of €50 million (£44 million), which both Premier League clubs are willing to do - with the deal effectively down to the player himself.
In case you didn't know...
After beginning his career with boyhood club Goias, Arthur moved to Gremio soon after, joining the Brazilian club at the age of 14 in 2010. He continued to impress in the junior side, before Luiz Felipe Scolari called him up to the first team and gave him his debut in 2015. Arthur has gradually grown more pivotal to Gremio, especially in their run to the Copa Libertadores title, which has meant the youngster is fielding offers from some of the biggest clubs in the world.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona's purchase of Philippe Coutinho has effectively ruled them out of the running for Arthur Melo, despite the player earlier being photographed in a Barcelona kit alongside the club's officials. The Blaugrana will have to sell a non-European player if they are to sign Arthur, as they have filled their quota.
Thus, Chelsea and Manchester United are looking to pounce on the uncertainty, offering Arthur better terms than what Barcelona were willing to pay him, while also paying the player's release clause. Arthur is expected to feature for Brazil in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and Gremio were hoping to cash in on an increased fee by signing the player to a new contract, only to be rebuffed.
Arthur Melo would improve any side, and as he has already shown - he can handle the rough and tumble nature of the Premier League. The midfielder is well on his way to becoming one of the best in the world, and his release clause should not deter the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, especially given they are getting a 21-year-old who can straightaway improve their UEFA Champions League and Premier League results.