Barcelona transfer news: Arthur deal official, Liverpool join chase for midfield star and more - 11th March 2018
Barcelona announce Arthur deal
The Blaugrana were locked in talks to sign the Gremio midfielder for a while now and the club's website now made the deal official. It read:
FC Barcelona and the Brazilian club Gremio de Porto Alegre have reached an agreement on a purchase option for the player Arthur Henrique Ramos de Oliveira Melo, whereas FC Barcelona may exercise this right on the player's federative rights during July of 2018.
In the event that the Club finally exercises the option signed, the price of the transfer is set at €30m plus €9m in variable amounts.
Arthur is tipped to be the heir to Andres Iniesta as both possess a similar style of play. He already led Gremio to a superb Copa Libertadores victory back in November at just 21 years of age. Now, the Brazilian has a great opportunity to take the next step at the hallowed Camp Nou alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
The signing of Arthur could see further midfield departures in the summer as the futures of Andre Gomes, Ivan Rakitic and Aleix Vidal come into the spotlight. Meanwhile, the Gremio star's addition is another step for Barcelona as they continue to rebuild and rejuvenate their squad.
Liverpool join Manchester United for Ivan Rakitic
The 30-year old has rediscovered his mojo this season under new manager, Ernesto Valverde, but his future remains uncertain as the summer approaches. The signings of Philippe Coutinho in January and Arthur Melo recently will lead to exits to trim the squad and the Croatian's age could tip the scale against him.
Now, Spanish news outlet, Don Balon, state that Liverpool has joined Manchester United in the chase to land the Barcelona star. While it is highly unlikely that Jurgen Klopp would sign a 30-year old midfielder who will not come cheap, there is no question about Rakitic's quality and experience.
Meanwhile, this sale could hurt the Catalan outfit if Coutinho and Arthur do not settle into the midfield roles soon enough. This could very well be the reason for Messi to intervene, as claimed in the same report. Don Balon state that the Argentine has reassured Rakitic of his importance to the side and how he has a future in Valverde's plans.
Thus, Rakitic could end up anywhere this summer and it remains to be seen whether the Blaugrana keep him or which club will he move to, as he will not be short of suitors.
Umtiti receives Real Madrid offer
The Frenchman is yet to sign a new deal as Barcelona are looking to increase his release clause from €60 million, a paltry amount for a top defender in the current market. Now, Don Balon state that the 24-year old is trying to push the club hierarchy to pay him as per with his stature in the squad by revealing an offer from archrivals Real Madrid.
Madrid president, Florentino Perez, is looking for a top defender to partner club captain, Sergio Ramos, and Umtiti's release clause represents a steal at the moment. If anything, this should motivate the Blaugrana to tie down the defender soon to a new contract with an increased release clause.
However, talks have been tough as the Frenchman is looking at wages of €8 million per season, given how crucial he has become in Valverde's squad. Nevertheless, Barcelona remains confident that the player will sign a new deal in the coming months to extend his stay at Camp Nou.
For Barcelona, it is imperative to hold on to Umtiti at all costs given his quality, age, and the difficulty to find top left-sided defenders in world football.