Barcelona are set to beat Chelsea to the signing of Gremio midfielder Arthur Melo, according to Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague (via the Sun).
The Blues have been scouting the Brazilian along with Barca and a host of other European clubs, but Balague has revealed that the La Liga side have a verbal agreement in place with the player.
The main obstacle in the Catalan club signing the 21 year old however is that Gremio are demanding that Barcelona meet the player’s £44m release clause; something the La Liga table toppers are unwilling to do:
“Arthur has got an agreement with Barcelona, but that needs to be confirmed in an agreement with Gremio, who are demanding the midfielder’s £44m buy-out clause be met. Barca will negotiate with Gremio at the right time because they want the player but they don’t want to pay that hefty figure.”
Arthur is known for his excellent passing and played an integral role as Gremio won the Copa Libertadores; South America’s equivalent of the European Cup.
Barca’s technical secretary Robert Fernandez and scout Andre Cury were in the stands for the second leg of the final earlier this month in order to watch the Brazilian, and shortly afterwards the midfielder was pictured with Cury wearing a Barca shirt.