Everything You Need to Know About Arthur Melo

I’m basically an expert on Arthur. So, okay, well, I have never seen Arthur play a match, but I have read his Wikipedia page. Or, I mean, I glanced at it. It’s more than most people seem to have done. He’ll be 22 by the time the season starts, which means that on his first poor performance, the knives will come out in that most thoughtful of spaces: English-language Barça Twitter. Doesn’t really matter why the performance was bad, how many good performances came before it, or that developing a 22-year old midfielder for the rigors of the most technical league on Earth is harder than, say, typing words on the Internet.

Given that I’ve never seen him play, I’ll just say that I hope he does well, that he is as technically gifted as we have been led to believe by others that also have never seen him play, and that this time next year we’re talking about what a steal he was at 30 million euros. He has been called up to the Brazilian national team twice, both World Cup qualifiers, and has failed to make it off the bench both times, yet there are headlines in Sport that are already lauding him as the star of Brazil’s 2022 squad alongside Coutinho. Besides the absurdity of such homerism, Arthur will be 25 verging on 26 when that finally rolls around–that is, he’ll be as old as Coutinho is now. If you had predicted the stars of World Cup 2018 in the midst of World Cup 2014, you’d be unlikely to have foreseen Coutinho’s imminent rise. You may, instead, have focused on a player such as Oscar or Bernard, who at the time were at least in the World Cup squad aged 21. Coutinho was at Liverpool by then, but had several years of European football under his belt. 4 of them, to be precise.

What you need to know about Arthur is that we don’t know anything about Arthur. Theoretically he has been scouted and judged by our technical staff and now is the time we get to wait for evidence. If we rush to judge his skills–he’ll be amazing! he’ll be terrible!–we will paint ourselves into a corner, mentally. And we will stay in that corner regardless of any outside evidence.

It can be hard to remember that the most talented Brazilian player in a generation–Neymar–was no sure-fire thing when he moved to Barça at the age of 21. And Arthur comes at that same precarious age, when you develop a better understanding of your body, more control of it, and are finally leaving mental adolescence as well. It’s a crazy time and few players are able to make that transition without serious consequences of one kind or another. Couple that with an incredible step up in day-to-day competition and it could take years for Arthur to fully develop as a Barça player. In fact, it should take years.

Whatever happens, let’s just admit we don’t know anything about Arthur and accept all the new information we’re about to receive with a modicum of humility. Let the play dictate your thoughts, not your thoughts dictate how you view the play.

Benvingut, Arthur. May your time with this club be joyous and full of trophies.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

27 Comments

  1. Jim
    July 10, 2018

    Well, compared with you I’m a real expert, Isaiah ! I’ve read the wiki AND watched a 2:40 YouTube video ! From that lofty position, I can honestly say that nobody can live up to having their name linked to Xavi at all, he struck me as not really being Xavi like but he looked quite an exciting prospect who can and does go past opponents. That’ll do for me after watching too much mediocrity in our midfield area for the last couple of seasons, especially off the bench. However, he wont get any more than two seasons. Why not ? You just don’t at Barca. That’s just how it is. But the guy looks to have something . . .

    Forgive me, Isaiah, but in other news Ronaldo’s off. It’s a sign of how much he’s fallen that I’m not sure if that’s good or bad for us. To be sure, Madrid will now be bringing either Neymar or Hazard. ( probably the latter given the lack of need for PSG to move on this ) and two or three others and that won’t be good.. There’s no need for him to prattle on about a new challenge. We all know why he’s going and there’s no shame in it. He’s been great for Madrid and one of the top three or four players in the world for the last six or seven years. I’d have preferred him to make a humble self deprecating exit like Iniesta and leave it to others to laud him. Good luck to him, anyway, especially against Italian defences which sit in and know what they’re doing.

    Finally, in the ” world’s gone to hell in a handcart” category ( no, it’s neither the reign of the current incumbent across the pond or the childish decision to allow a blimp of him as a baby in a nappy to fly above London during his visit ). No, Wimbledon has announced that spectators will be allowed to watch the WC final on their phones during the final. What a friggin’ disgrace ! If you don’t want to watch the best athlete the world has ever seen, piss off and watch the footie on the tele and give me your ticket. Not even close – watching Federer live for what may be the last time or the WC final between two average sides on a smartphone. Jeez !

    • July 12, 2018

      What’s a Ronaldo?

      You needn’t be too bothered about Federer now.

  2. Bruce Wayne
    July 10, 2018

    I’m going to ask something stupid. Do you think we made a mistake buying Dembele instead of Mbappe? He looks like someone who’s ready to take on the world. Whereas Dembele…

    • Víctor
      July 10, 2018

      We will know for sure during Dembele’s second season. He has lots of talent, and he is a fast winger, I predict he will make good team with Coutinho, Suarez and Messi upfront.

      Mbappe at Barça? It would be nice, but he admires CR7, so he’s most likely to go to Real Madrid instead.

      And LOL at Barça twitter… always bitching and acting like they know better than the coaches. They have been bashing Deschamps since the start of this World Cup and yet, he is at the World Cup final. Of course, Barça twitter is pissed because he doesn’t use Dembele as a starter, that’s the only reason behind those complaints against him… but in this game, seems like it was wise to not sub him in… France needed to not give spaces to Belgium…

    • G6O
      July 10, 2018

      Assuming that choice was actually made, it was a mistake, no doubt. But we don’t know if there was any possibility to sign him to begin with.

  3. Víctor
    July 10, 2018

    The talk about Dembele perfectly illustrates Isaiah’s point so well… Dembele has just 1 season with Barcelona and had several months injured, yet we are already talking about him as if he was a mistake-signing. It’s true that some Dembele’s performances weren’t the best, but he also had very good performances… trouble is: the team paid lots of money for him… he should have been signed for 30~50m (tops) and maybe things would be calmer around him.

    And seems like Arthur is going to be headed that way. Most of us barely know how he plays and his quality, but Barcelona fans are already expecting him to be the next Xavi or Iniesta… while at the same time those same Barça fans say that Xavi and Iniesta are marvelous players whose quality won’t be matched for many years to come…

    By the way: Countinho’s signing, it was overpriced as well… but right now it seems that it wasn’t that bad of a deal. Imagine how much money would Liverpool ask for him if he were in their team right now? More than 200m, for sure…

    • G6O
      July 10, 2018

      The Coutinho signing may still turn out to be a mistake though.

      It all depends on the coach and whether he will be utilized correctly. But if the plans was to sign him as a direct replacement for Iniesta, the WC clearly showed that this will most likely not work out well.

  4. leomessi
    July 11, 2018

    wow,
    how much rm has juiced and squeezed the maximum out of cristino, it really is remarkable. After 9 years and returning more than a goal a game, they have actually made a profit from the sale of a 33 year old for more than 100 milliones? Only madrid can do this.
    we sell villa for 2.5m.

    they sell raul albiol for 50million and higuain for 70 miliion etc etc
    how, do they do this?

    • July 11, 2018

      RM treat their players as assets. Barça treats them mostly as employees – and family.
      Have you seen RM celebrate Raul, Casillas, Ronaldo the way Barça celebrated Xavi and Iniesta?
      Nor will you. For their president, they are assets, investments, used and sold to the highest bidder for the maximum price when no longer useful – because new assets will have to be acquired.

  5. TITO
    July 11, 2018

    De Jong
    Rabbiot
    Hazard
    Lenglet

    not bad names at all.

    • Rivaldo
      July 11, 2018

      Add Mariano to that list and I think we would have covered all our needs this summer.

      Ter Stegen/Cillessen

      Semedo/S. Roberto/Alba/Digne

      Pique/Umtiti/Lenglet/Y. Mina

      Busquests/F. de Jong

      Rakitic/Coutinho/Arthur/Rabiot/Alena

      Messi/Hazard/Dembele

      Suarez/Mariano

      22 players.

  6. Jim
    July 11, 2018

    Ok, I know I’m not Rakitic’s biggest admirer but, boy, do I need him now. Come on son ! If it comes home I’m going down the pub …

  7. Jim
    July 11, 2018

    How can we have a World Cup semi final where England are strolling it against a very poor side? What has gone wrong with world football ? Are Rakitic and Modric playing tonight ?

    • Rivaldo
      July 11, 2018

      I was wondering the same. Of all games their midfield chooses today to be absent.

    • georgjorge
      July 11, 2018

      But I think you’re happy now, aren’t you? ; )

      • Jim
        July 11, 2018

        No, I won’t gloat . . .

        but the insistent beat of the music is beginning to insinuate itself . That’s the problem when your song includes the words “coming home”, I suppose..

        Just on the musical theme, folks will know I’m a sucker for atmospheric football anthems. Well, for me

        1. Russia – their national anthem was way ahead of the rest. Cracking singalongs from the hosts.

        2. Brazil – for their insistence on singing the second verse after the music stopped !

        3 =. England. Yes that hurts but they sang well and it’s a decent tune and France who should have been better but there didn’t seem to be many of their fans there or else they weren’t singing. Still, a good stirring tune.

        Wooden spoon. Spain. What a non event. Go away, get a better tune and for god’s sake put some words to it !

  8. Bruce Wayne
    July 11, 2018

    Lovren gets to play in the World Cup final after having played the UCL final

  9. Víctor
    July 11, 2018

    Did someone notice that Argentina got defeated by the two world cup finalists? I know, it’s a just a miscelanous fact, but I find it to be an interesting one…

  10. Hey Jim, I must be one of those happiest people to see England out. I
    I really wish Croatia wins it, even if France is my second home.
    Am I right that we bought Song, when Modric wanted us – he was a life time cule then :)- (like Isco,).
    Rakitic will play his 71st match of the season. !!!.

    EXcited for Arthur, even if I know nothing about him. I have this intuition that other than all his passing and technical abilities he has some grit..
    If we can also buy Thiago, it will be excellent. (as long as we manage to sell off the undesirables – Gomez, Douglas..what a pity?)
    With Munir and Alcacer there, I dont think we need to buy another forward. And really if our midfield can see the ball to the final third, we still have Messi. so..

  11. ugo nze
    July 12, 2018

    we also need a dribbler that with experience, with pace, skills, passing, and that can push the ball forward..
    player like dounglass costa Not alcaser

  12. passandmove
    July 13, 2018

    In a highlight reel Arthur must have done a Xavi turn a dozen times. So there’s that already.

  13. They-said-thered-be-jetpacks
    July 16, 2018

    Since the transfers of Arda, Gomes, Suarez minor, I have decided to just not expect much from midfield acquisitions of late. I have been noticing, however, that the only time Barca seem to get a great deal on a player is when we sign players from Sevilla and Liverpool. Alves, Adriano, Keita, Raki have all proven to be great bargains for us in the past we’ll call Vidal an anomaly, lol. Similarly, Suarez and Masch have been nothing short of pivotal to our recent successes. So what am I saying here? I’m saying that Arthur, from youtube profiles and media hype looks like the real deal and a great transfer. But then, so did Arda, and Gomes. So I can only wish Arthur the best, I hope he can turn out to be a Paulinho for us.

    On a separate note, what are your feelings on the Yerry Mina situation? Is it fair for him to be pushed out when he barely got half of a season to prove himself?

  14. Hristo
    July 19, 2018

    If you are truly Barca man you will know as much as there is to be abiut a players who is certain to come. But you have to be fascinated with Barca.

    The author is leaping on the defense of someone who does not need. He speaks as if he is level headed ans humble.
    The author Wrights here 2 a years…i wonder if by mistake.
    Ready and alert, responding to what ever comes your way.
    The author by anticipating a negative outcomes cant help but give birth to that idea in the heads of those who hadn’t had it. Like me.

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