Arsenal hit hurdle over Arthur Melo transfer as Juventus demand unrealistic swap deal
Arsenal had made Arthur their main target as Mikel Arteta looked to bolster their options in central midfield, but a number of hurdles are blocking their move for the Juventus star.
Arsenal have faced a new hurdle in their bid to sign Arthur Melo after Juventus reportedly demanded an unrealistic swap deal in order to complete the transfer.
The Gunners are looking to strengthen their squad for the second half of the season as they try to beat Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham to last place in the top four.
A £150million summer spending spree has helped Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta improve on a number of weaknesses in his side, but there remains a worrying gap in central midfield.
This discrepancy became particularly apparent after Granit Xhaka was shown the red card in the Carabao Cup draw at Liverpool, with Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey outside the Africa Cup of Nations.
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Arteta believed he had found the man to fill that gap in Juventus star Arthur, who struggled for regular playing time under Massimiliano Allegri.
Juve were believed to be ready to loan out the Brazilian midfielder, who only joined the Serie A giants 18 months ago from Barcelona.
The deal appeared to be progressing quickly, with Goal Brazil reporting on Thursday that the 25-year-old had agreed personal terms with the Gunners.
Having started just three games in the Italian top flight, Arthur is keen to leave the Allianz Stadium, but Juve have not sanctioned the deal until they have a replacement.
At first they hoped the replacement would be Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who himself is far down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
But rather than send him on the third loan of his career, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel wants him to stay instead.
“We didn’t talk about it, he had a lot of game time, I would say,” Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City.
“If you look at the last few years and look at this season, I think he’s had a lot of playing time and a lot of things to fight for here. We’re talking about Ruben [and that’s] my personal opinion.
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With Loftus-Cheek no longer available, Juventus have turned to another target, although this is far more unrealistic.
According to Sky Sports Italy, as part of Arthur’s signing deal, the Old Lady demanded Arsenal star Partey in return.
Partey has been a key player for Arteta since arriving from Atletico Madrid before last season and has impressed this term.
But the report says Juve would be ‘willing’ to let Arthur move to the Emirates only if Partey goes in the opposite direction.
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It is claimed the proposal was overlooked by Arsenal, who ‘would not accept’ the idea of losing the Ghana international.
Partey’s unrealistic demand creates another hurdle for the Gunners to complete the deal, with Allegri giving the first hint that Arthur would in fact stay on Friday.
“I’ve said it before, it’s our team and we have to end the season with the current team in the best possible way,” the Juve boss said.
“That means reaching the top four in the league and progressing in the Champions League, and on Tuesday there is the Coppa Italia. We are growing as a team, we just have to stay calm.