Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo will join Juventus at the end of the current season, with Miralem Pjanic moving in the opposite direction, the two clubs announced Monday.
Barcelona said they had paid € 60 million ($ 67.4 million) plus a potential € 5 million more in bonuses for Bosnian game maker Pjanic after confirming earlier that Juventus would pay € 72 million plus € 10 million in variables for Arthur.
The two deals have been carried out separately, allowing both clubs to increase their earnings numbers before the end of the financial year on June 30.
Pjanic’s four-year contract includes a € 400 million release clause, while Juventus said Arthur’s contract will last for five years, until June 2025.
Arthur and Pjanic will remain with their current teams until the end of the 2019/20 campaign, which will include the last stages of the Champions League in August.
It raises the possibility that Arthur and Pjanic may still face each other, and their future clubs, in the final of the Champions League in Portugal, in case both sides win their last 16 return games.
In a statement, Juventus said they had signed Arthur for “€ 72 million payable in four years. The purchase value may increase by a maximum of 10 million euros in compliance with certain conditions during the contractual term. “
Arthur, a Brazilian international, only joined Barça from Gremio in 2018 and was hailed as a future star for the club, with many pointing him out as Xavi Hernández’s long-term successor in midfield.
After an encouraging start, the 23-year-old has been one of many players to stagnate this season, but the main motivation for his sale is believed to be financial.
Arthur’s departure puts more scrutiny on the Barcelona council and president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. They have overseen a series of casual moves in the transfer market and have been accused of failing to implement any clear sense of direction for the club.
– Limited play time –
The three-month suspension from Barcelona has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and was due to bring in around 70 million euros to meet its budget for the current season.
By selling Arthur, the board can record the transfer proceeds immediately before distributing Pjanic’s payments throughout the 30-year contract.
Pjanic joined Juventus Rome in 2016. He grew up in Luxembourg and initially made a name for himself in French football with Metz and then Lyon.
Last year, Barcelona made a similar transaction by exchanging goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Neto Valencia, in deals worth around € 30 million each.
While Pjanic will cost around € 10m less than the amount Juventus pays for Arthur, the Italians may feel they have a better deal given that the Brazilian is seven years younger.
Arthur had been reluctant to leave the Camp Nou and even issued a statement in April, insisting that his “idea was clear” and that he wanted to play in Barcelona “for many years.”
But he was persuaded to change his mind after he was granted limited playing time under Quique Setien, while Juve coach Maurizio Sarri had made it clear that he would be a key figure on his side in Turin.
Setien said at a press conference on Monday that the creator of the game had promised to give it his all for the rest of the season as Barcelona seeks to make up for a two-point gap over Real Madrid at the top of the table.
“We look forward to his biggest commitment until the last day he’s here,” Setien said.
“He is still a Barcelona player until the end of the season and he has promised that he will give everything to achieve the goals we have set for himself. He is a guy who will commit himself until the last day.”