How far away that time seems when FC Barcelona, with its coffers full, spent more than 30 million euros to secure the services of Arthur Melo, a 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder, then a Grêmio player. A prosperous period for the native of Goiânia, his debut at Barça, crowned with a Spanish championship title and a national Supercup during the 2018-2019 season, coincided with his first steps in the selection of Brazil, with which he won , as a starter alongside Casemiro in front of the defense, the Copa América at home. With Rakitic and Busquets, and in the absence of Messi, he participates in the 5-1 against Real Madrid. But author of 44 appearances for his first season, Arthur sees things go wrong the next. Barça has a white season, during which it only takes part in 28 matches under the orders of Ernesto Valverde, then Quique Setién.
There will be no third season in Barcelona since Ronald Koeman is appointed to the Catalan bench and a real bleeding in the workforce ensues. The Brazilian is invited to leave. His transfer to Juventus, linked to the arrival of Miralem Pjanic at FC Barcelona, has caused a lot of ink to flow. The prosecution of the Italian Football Federation (Federcalcio) even opened a file a year later on « suspicious capital gains » linked to this transfer. Pjanic having joined Barça for 60 million euros, when Arthur went the opposite way for some 72 million euros. With the sporting success that we know. In Italy, Arthur Melo signs a contract until June 2025. But the Old Lady does not take long to bite her fingers. Accustomed to the bench or the infirmary, only 17 times holder, the midfielder loses his place in selection.
13 minutes of play since his arrival
Relegated in the hierarchy by Andrea Pirlo, helmed by Aaron Ramsey, Winston McKennie, Rodrigo Bentancur, Adrien Rabiot and even Danilo, Arthur Melo must have surgery on his right leg in the off-season. He misses the recovery under the orders of Massimiliano Allegri, who only offers him his chance in the second half of the season. Holder in March, with convincing results for his team, he was miraculously recalled to selection by Tite, but nevertheless remained behind Denis Zakaria and Manuel Locatelli in the plans of his club coach. His end to the 2021-2022 season is marked by a new injury. Summer is coming and Juventus want to slim down their midfield. The Brazilian intermittent is then announced on the shelves of several teams in search of a shot at a lower cost. Inter, Arsenal, OL and Valencia positioned themselves, but it was Liverpool who announced his arrival on September 1.
In search of reinforcements in the midfield, following the defections of Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, and after a sluggish start to the championship, it was Jürgen Klopp who validated this transfer. But the German technician quickly became disillusioned. Loaned for the season for 3.4 million euros by Juventus, the Brazilian arrives full of ambition: “I’m really, really happy to be here with this great shirt with this famous badge that means so much in world football, it’s a dream”. At that time, he does not know it yet but his entry against Napoli on September 7 will be his only feat of arms with the first team. 13 minutes of play during a stinging defeat of the Reds (4-1) and here he is, three weeks after setting foot on the banks of the Mersey, relegated to the reserve team! Official reason: a lack of physical condition.
Liverpool will not pay 37 million euros!
Yes, but now, 4 months after playing his only minutes with Liverpool, the Brazilian has disappeared from the radar. The reason ? A tear in the quadriceps, contracted at the beginning of October in training and an operation in stride. If the truce, linked to the World Cup in Qatar, could work in his favor, Arthur Melo is more than ever on the start. It must be said that Liverpool will have to pay the tidy sum of 37 million euros if they wish to exercise their purchase option next June. The British press, the DailyMail in mind, the announcement today without flinching: the Reds will not pay. Arthur Melo will therefore leave Liverpool at the end of the season. He will then have two years left on his contract in Turin. A disastrous loan and an inability to bounce back after a very successful first season at Barca, now 4 years ago. Arthur’s return to the lawns is scheduled for the end of January. 4 months to reverse the trend? It seems unlikely. Even if a new year brings its share of good resolutions.
In the meantime, this descent into hell, the player has taken it violently. At the beginning of January, Arthur took stock of the past year on instagram. And the least we can say is that 2022 has been a dark year for him. “2022, the most difficult year of my life! A complicated year of football, with many injuries, many criticisms that I had to listen to in silence, without at least having the opportunity to expose the truth, of what was really going on, many sleepless nights because of the physical pain, many days in the hospital, the anguish of waiting for the medical report hoping that it was not something that could prevent me from doing what I love the most, playing football”. Despite this, and despite Liverpool’s intentions, he remains optimistic: “I just have to thank the year 2022, for everything I learned, a difficult year, a difficult phase. But it was a year that taught me a lot of things that I will carry over to the next few years of my life. Thank you 2022 and make way for 2023! Be strong, have faith,” he concluded.