After a summer long refusal to add to their midfield ranks (outside their preferred targets), Liverpool seem to have finally taken the plunge. An injury crisis in midfield has seen Jürgen Klopp questioned on his options, or lack thereof in the middle of the pitch.

The manager confirmed a few days ago that they did attempt to move for a midfielder this summer but the player chose to go elsewhere. That player is of course Frenchman Aurelien Tchouameni who joined Real Madrid for approximately £80million.

The only other target is Borussia Dortmund’s young English sensation Jude Bellingham. The 19 year old is unavailable this summer however, and for all intents and purposes the club was ready to keep their powder dry till next summer.

That was until Jordan Henderson joined the long casualty list last night, suffering a hamstring injury. Even with Curtis Jones back in training and Thiago due to return next week, the club had to act. Act they have, with a season long loan deal being thrashed out for Arthur Melo.

Who is Arthur though, and what has his career path been like? Most importantly, what will he offer Jürgen Klopp’s side as an emergency signing that’s meant to come straight into the team? Let’s take a look at his profile.

Arthur Henrique Santos Ramos de Oliveira Melo is a 26 year old Brazilian midfielder that plies his trade for Juventus. He stands at 5 ft 7 inches tall (same as Elliott and Carvalho) but makes up for that lack of height with quick thinking and intelligence on the ball.

He came through the youth ranks at Gremio after being spotted in a youth tournament with his boyhood club Kells Celtic. He was handed his first team debut for Gremio by Luiz Felipe Scolari at age 18. It didn’t go to plan though, as he was taken off at halftime.

He would become a first-team regular just two years later, with a string of impressive displays in the Primeira Liga, Campeonato Gaúcho and Copa Libertadores drawing comparisons with Spanish midfielders Andrés Iniesta and Thiago.

He enjoyed a brilliant spell with Gremio, winning the 2016 Copa do Brasil, 2017 Copa Libertadores (where he was named Man of the Match in the second leg of the final), 2018 Recopa Sudamericana and 2018 Campeonato Gaucho.

This form didn’t go unnoticed around Europe, with a host of top clubs interested in securing his services. Barcelona won the race for his signature for an initial fee of €31 million plus a further €9 million in add-ons.

It was a significant outlay for a 21 year old who had never played outside Brazil, but the Spanish giants were confident they were getting the buck for their bang. He started his Barca career by lifting the 2018 Supercopa de España on debut.

He would go on to make 44 appearances that season, establishing himself as a real option in midfield for the Blaugrana. He earned a call up to the Brazil senior side as well, with Tite handing him his debut against USA in September 2018.

Tite praised the midfielder’s unique playing style saying, “He always finds the best escape, the best pass out”. Even if he doesn’t provide the assist, he comes up with the pass that will help a player.”

Arthur was included in Brazil’s 23-man squad for the 2019 Copa América, and having missed the first group game, started every subsequent game as Brazil went all the way to lift the title. He had become a regular fixture in the heart of Brazil’s midfield and was a key cog.

Arthur Melo managed the most accurate passes per game (68) at the 2019 Copa America tournament.


Following a successful tournament, Arthur begun the 2019/20 season with Barca full of confidence. He scored his first goal for the club against Osasuna in August. Injuries would hamper his progress however, limiting him to just 28 appearances in all competitions.

Following that campaign, the Barcelona heirarchy made the strange decision to swap Arthur for Miralem Pjanic (or €72 million, plus €10 million in add-ons) from Juventus. The player wanted to stay but was left with no choice as he packed his bags for Turin.

That move has failed for all involved, with the mercurial midfielder’s style jarring with the slow, methodical and tactical nature of the Serie A. He’s made 63 appearances for the Bianconeri since that move but now looks set for a fresh start on Merseyside.

The 26 year old has lost his way a bit but if there’s one manager he can recapture his best form under, it’s Jürgen Klopp. He profiles similar to the 2018-2020 version of Wijnaldum at Liverpool. He’s safe in possession but circulates the ball well.

He might not have been top of the list but at this point we have to make do. He’s excellent on the ball, goes sideways a lot but doesn’t panic in possession. He’s Gini-lite. He’s not going to offer many goals or assists but will provide greater control in midfield with his ball retention.

Arthur is capable of playing as the deep-lying playmaker (the Thiago role), box-to-box (the Hendo role), and occasionally as a holding midfielder (the Fabinho role). His agility, technical ability, dribbling and movement allow him to create space and control the flow of play.

He’s got experience at the top level as well, experiencing the Champions League with both Barcelona and Juventus. He brings a winning mentality as well having lifted the league title in Spain, as well as the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.

Our contingent of Brazilians should help him settle quickly too, with a possible inclusion in the matchday squad for the Merseyside derby on Saturday. It has come from left field but we are where we are. Hopefully both parties make the best of this move.

There’s no obligation to buy included in the proposed deal so it’ll be up to the player to prove himself on the pitch if he wants a long term future at the club. Should be intriguing to see how this plays out. Not only now but when the likes of Thiago return to full fitness.

STATS (League and European competition only)

Arthur for Barca in 2018/19:

Appearances – 36
• Minutes – 1,763
• Passing accuracy – 94%
• Goals – 0
• Assists – 1
• Chances created – 20
• Successful dribbles – 14
• Successful tackles – 21
• Interceptions – 11
• Age – 23

Arthur for Barca in 2019/20:

• Appearances – 25
• Minutes – 1,483
• Passing accuracy – 91%
• Goals – 3
• Assists – 4
• Chances created – 14
• Successful dribbles – 38
• Successful tackles – 13
• Interceptions – 6
• Age – 24

Stats sourced from Fotmob


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