Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists the club’s sale of midfielder Arthur Melo was primarily a sporting decision.
The 23-year-old has been allowed to join Juventus at the end of the season in a de facto swap deal which will see Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic move to the Camp Nou.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 29, 2020
Arthur’s move to the Italian champions has been processed for an initial €72m transfer fee with a further €10m in potential add-ons included, with Pjanic moving the other way for an initial €60m alongside a further €5m in add-ons, with his four-year contract including a €400m release clause.
“Arthur’s issue is firstly a sporting decision, and it also an economic one, but the technical team has wanted Pjanic for a long time,” Bartomeu explained to Catalan radio station RAC1 on Tuesday.
Arthur joined the Blaugrana in 2018 in a deal from Gremio worth an initial €31m plus a further €9m in variables and he had a contract with the club until the summer of 2024 with a €400m release clause, while transfermarkt gives him a market value of €55m.
The Brazilian’s reluctance to leave the Camp Nou had been the biggest stumbling block for the exchange deal being processed but that hurdle was overcome and the moves have been finalised.
As outlined by business football blogger Swiss Ramble, the nature of the deal – processed ahead of 30 June, the deadline for the seasonal accounts of both clubs – has to be viewed primarily as a way of generating profit and justifying spending by both Barcelona and Juventus.
Reports that #FCBarcelona are selling 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder Arthur to #Juventus for €80m, while 30-year-old Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic will move the other way for €70m, have left supporters of both clubs somewhat perplexed.
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) June 25, 2020
Barcelona transfer news has focused on this deal in recent weeks and indicates that multiple de facto swap deals are likely this summer for the club.
Both players will remain at their clubs until the end of the campaign, and could feasibly face their future clubs in the Champions League in August.