Because of when the transfer happened and how much of the 2019-20 season was still remaining to be played, things were always going to be interesting for both Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic. They were still technically players at Barcelona and Juventus, respectively, but they also knew that their futures were at the other club.
It was a situation that could have gotten very interesting — and not in a good way — very, very quickly.
And while Pjanic has been pretty much the same drama-free dude we’ve come to know him to be ever since the deal was announced (at least from what we know from the outside looking in), the same can’t be said for whatever working relationship there is between Barcelona and Arthur.
According to reports from ESPN and Diario SPORT in Spain on Monday, Arthur and Barcelona are currently negotiating an early release from the club. The reason? Arthur, who returned home to Brazil for a quick visit following the completion of the La Liga season, has not yet reported for the club’s latest round of coronavirus testing prior to training ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League preparations. As the ESPN report says, Arthur “doesn’t want to be involved in the preparations and would prefer that his Camp Nou stay ended immediately.” Barcelona are reportedly going to try and take action for a breach of contract.
Arthur Melo and Barcelona are negotiating his early release from the club, sources have told @moillorens & @samuelmarsden.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 27, 2020
The relationship has soured in recent weeks because he no longer wants to be involved in their UCL campaign: https://t.co/6dCnjrUbKP pic.twitter.com/XVzWnTbfoP
The Arthur-Pjanic swap deal was announced on June 30, essentially the deadline before the books were closed on the fiscal year for both clubs. Since that transfer happened, Arthur has played the same amount of minutes for Barcelona as Pjanic has — which, as you can probably figure out, is a big fat goose egg.
That is the reasoning behind Arthur’s desire to both not report back to training and then not take part in however long Barcelona’s run in this season’s Champions League ends up being. Arthur is reportedly not happy with what his role has been since the transfer to Juventus was announced — which, seeing as he hasn’t played a single second in the month of July, that’s pretty understandable — and doesn’t see a reason why he should fly all the way back tp Spain just so he can continue to sit on the bench.
Barcelona’s response is obviously one where they want to end things early.
Barcelona manager Quique Setien has said previously that Arthur would only play if it is out of necessity. That is a little different than where Pjanic finds himself, with Maurizio Sarri starting him more often than not over the course of the last month since the deal was announced. Pjanic picked up the assist on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal that proved to be the game winner in Juventus’ 2-0 Scudetto-clinching win over Sampdoria this past Sunday.