'He was close to joining Arsenal': Agent says Arteta almost signed 'sensational' £61m star in January
Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

'He was close to joining Arsenal': Agent says Arteta almost signed 'sensational' £61m star in January

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Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo in the January transfer window, and the Brazilian’s agent, Federico Pastorello, has now revealed that a deal was close to completion.

The Gunners allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to join AS Roma on loan in the winter window. That left them with just Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny in the middle of their park.

Mikel Arteta was keen to add another top-quality midfielder, and Arthur, branded as a ‘sensational player’ by Antonio Cassano, was rumoured to be Edu Gaspar’s top target in January.

However, Arsenal finished the window without making a single senior signing, but if Arthur’s agent is to be believed, the £61 million Brazilian midfielder was one step away from moving to the Emirates.

Arthur Melo was close to joining Arsenal in January

Pastorello spoke to Italian publication La Repubblica this week about his client’s lack of game time under Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus.

He said, as translated by The Metro: “In January he (Arthur) was close to leaving and joining Arsenal.

“He is too important a player to be marginalised, he must also think about his situation with the national team. He was signed to play a different style of football, with Maurizio Sarri he would have played Jorginho, Allegri likes him but instead, he wants to play with two more physical midfielders.

“It’s a tactical question, and I don’t make the technical choices. But, it’s not in anyone’s interest to continue in this situation.”

Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Why did the deal collapse?

Arsenal were linked with a move for Arthur for most of January, but on the 29th of the month, just a couple of days before the end of the window, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano revealed that a deal had collapsed. 90min later revealed the real reason why the deal fell through.

Juventus were reluctant to let him leave on a short term deal. The Italian giants wanted Arsenal to sign Arthur on an 18-month loan deal instead of one until the end of the season. They also wanted an option to buy clause for £34 million inserted in the contract.

The report claimed that Edu was happy with the terms of the deal and even gave the go-ahead. However, just as the deal was about to be completed, the Arsenal ownership intervened.

Josh Kroenke reportedly stepped in and said ‘no way’. He vetoed the terms of the deal – a decision that was backed by other members of the club hierarchy. The deal collapsed as a result and Arsenal ended the window without a new midfielder.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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