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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Juventus, Barcelona complete Arthur Melo, Miralem Pjanic swap deal

You’ll have to wait for the players to actually swap teams, but the swap is now a done deal.

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It wasn’t that long ago where there looked to be very little hope of the Arthur Melo-Miralem Pjanic swap deal that has been reported in the press for weeks actually going down. It was more to do with what was going on on the Spanish side of things rather than the Juventus part of the equation. There was hesitation on Arthur’s part, and that meant a deal was in serious danger of falling apart before it truly materialized into anything significant.

Yet, with Arthur’s arrival in Turin and subsequent medical exams on Sunday, those fears were officially gone. Done and dusted — forever and ever and ever.

Arthur is officially a Juventus player, the club announced on Monday. He is part of the kind of deal many Juve followers expect to see this summer — a swap deal with a little bit of cash going one way along with a player or two. In this case, it’s the player we’ve known Barcelona to want all along — Miralem Pjanic. With Arthur valued at €72 million and Pjanic at €60 million, Juventus will see €12 million head to Spain as part of the deal as well as the 30-year-old Bosnian midfielder who was signed from Roma in 2016.

As has been previously reported, Arthur signed his new five-year contract with Juventus after Sunday’s medical exams. Pjanic also did his medical and contract signing on Sunday.

The details of the deal, courtesy Juventus’ official website:

Turin, 29 June 2020 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that these agreements have been finalized with FC Barcelona:

• definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Arthur Henrique Ramos De Oliveira Melo for a consideration of € 72 million payable in four financial years. The purchase value may increase of maximum € 10 million on achieving given conditions during the course of the contract. Juventus and the player have signed a 5-year contract of employment valid until 30 June 2025;

• definitive disposal of the registration rights of the player Miralem Pjanić for a consideration of € 60 million payable in four financial years. The consideration may increase of further € 5 million on achieving given conditions during the course of the contract. The economic effect is positive for about € 41.8 million, net of solidarity contribution and auxiliary expenses.

The obvious weird part about all of this is that both Pjanic and Arthur won’t actually move to their new clubs until the current season comes to an end. This is very much a high-profile move, but it’s also like delayed gratification — hopefully — because of how this pandemic has thrown everything off schedule.

But, the fact still remains, Juventus has a new midfielder and heading to Spain is a midfielder who, for a large portion of the 2019-20 season, has struggled to truly fit into a system that we all thought he could truly thrive in.

Pjanic’s struggles under Maurizio Sarri this season could very well be a microcosm of the team’s for as a whole. Pjanic has been off for much of the season, with the games off 100-plus touches long gone. Up until this past Friday’s 4-0 win over Lecce, it was hard to point to a game and say that Pjanic was one of Juve’s best players on the field. That’s not what we thought would happen last summer when Sarri replaced Max Allegri and brought with him a system that was supposed to make Pjanic the hub of the midfield.

Instead, 12 months later, he’s now part of a swap deal that brings the eight-time defending Italian champions some added energy in what is hopefully a revamped and revitalized midfield.

We don’t know exactly where Arthur will fit into Sarri’s midfield next season. He might be a regista, he might be a box-to-box player in the same way Rodrigo Bentancur is now. We just don’t know yet, and we will have to wait until September for all of that. But what we do know is that Arthur, at the age of 23, has time on his side to potentially grow into this Juventus team even though there will be pressure on him to contribute right away based on the kind of transfer he’s involved in.

For now, though, Arthur is Juventus’ first transfer of the summer of 2020. Maybe not in the way we envisioned or for because there’s another talented player in Pjanic involved in the deal. But still, Arthur has the chance to be the first player in helping Juve’s midfield take a step up in quality — and that is something we’ve been waiting over two years to happen now.