Report Claims Gremio Want to Keep Barcelona-Bound Star Arthur Melo This Summer

?Barcelona may postpone the signing of Gremio midfielder Arthur, while his current club want him to stay at the club for the remainder of the Brazilian campaign.

?Marca report that while Barcelona need to replace the huge hole that will be left in midfield when the legendary ?Andres Iniesta leaves, they do not have the space for another non-EU player in their first team squad. Gremio meanwhile are keen to hold onto Arthur until January and the end of the Brazilian season.

The two clubs have already ?reached an agreement for purchase option of up to €40m for the player, which can be activated either in the summer or in January 2019.

Gremio v Monagas - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Gremio are keen to keep the Brazilian for as long as possible, so that he can continue his instrumental role for the club throughout the league season.

Should Barcelona choose to fast-track the deal this summer, however, there is likely to be further complications. La Liga clubs are allowed just three non-EU players registered in their squads – with the berths already currently filled by Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho and Yerry Mina. 

While Coutinho is apparently looking at getting a Portuguese passport, and Mina may be sent out on loan, there is no guarantee that Barça could accommodate 21-year-old Arthur this summer.

Lanus v Gremio - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2017

Some recent reports have even speculated that Barça could forgo the purchase option and look at other options, such as ?Real Betis star Fabian Ruiz instead this summer. Ruiz has experience in Spain’s top flight and as a Spanish national would have no issue being registered in the side.

Arthur has played 51 times for Gremio since coming into the side in 2016 and has impressed during this period. He has won the Copa Liberadores title, the Copa do Brasil and Recopa Sudamericana and has an outside chance of earning himself a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad.