“HE seems similar to Xavi. He is very confident and can be trusted. His football is like from La Masia: he plays short passes, does not lose the ball. He understood Barcelona’s game very quickly, as well as the whole dynamics of the team,” he said with admiring Lionel Messi in 2018 when Barcelona brought in then-21-year-old Arthur Mel from the Brazilian Grammy for 31 million euros.
Two years later, here’s the Argentine’s favorite Cristiano Ronaldo in a big midfield exchange that has been brewing in recent months.
The Italians and Spaniards, let us remind you, agreed on the exchange of 30-year-old Miralem Pjanić and Arthur, with the addition that Juventus will pay Barcelona another 10 million euros.
Juventus’ first step in the reconstruction of the weakest position
Arthur, it is no secret, was the exclusive wish of coach Maurizio Sarri and it is not difficult to guess why.
Messi said everything precisely two years ago, whose position is almost certainly agreed by the 61-year-old Juventus coach, whose bringing in Arthur, a player who rejected Bianconer’s offer for months, is the first step in strengthening the weakest segment that Ronaldo himself protested. .
>>> Take a look at the statistical cross-section of the current Arthur season here.
VIDEO: Arthur is a new Juventus player, Pjanić is going to Barcelona
Although Sarri refuses to comment on Arthur’s purchase and praises Pjanić with all his mouth, it is clear that on his orders, the Old Lady is embarking on the reconstruction of the midfield.
We wrote about this four months ago as one of the main reasons for Juventus’ pale game, and that the midfielders are really ineffective is evidenced by the comments of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Dybala at the halftime match against Lyon in the round of 16 of the Champions League.
Ronaldo complained, Juventus reacted
The two best players of Sarri’s team agreed that the midfielders are not doing what they should and that they have no support as attackers.
“The midfielders are not giving us enough support. We are alone,” Ronaldo told the Argentine.
“They never give us the ball,” Dybala retorted.
Consequently, their performance becomes thinner, nervousness through poor play and a shortage of usable balls grows and this was reflected in a 1-0 defeat in France which Juventus has yet to make up for in August when the Champions League resumes.
Arthur thus represents the first important step in Juventus’ modernization of the game according to Sarri’s football principles. The experienced expert, obsessed with the offensive game, cannot get what he wants out of the current roster of midfielders, so the arrival of Arthur begins a revolutionary turn.
The Brazilian must instantly speed up the Italian’s game, specifically, he must give a stronger impulse in the heart of the field than Pjanić, especially in the offensive where all Juventus midfielders are currently playing below the level, except for Rodrigo Bentancur.
Arthur as such, comes up with a special assignment.
What does Arthur have to bring to Juventus and who is Pjanić’s successor?
The slow alibi game with passes to the first player next to him is a synonym for Juventus midfielders, of whom Miralem Pjanić failed the most under Sarri, from whom Sarri still asks to have at least 150 touches with the ball per game.
However, Pjanić’s problem is often a lack of initiative and determination – he does not impose himself as one of the leaders on the field, which the midfielder in the role of playmaker should certainly do.
In Pjanić’s position, Sarri sees Rodrigo Bentancur, his new favorite in the locker room. The Uruguayan will become the first and central playmaker at the age of 23, after three years of playing for Juventus.
Although he does not have a pass-play and a vision in the rank of Pjanić, he fits into Sarri’s way of playing due to a larger radius of movement and more energetic performance – in every Juventus game you will easily notice Bentancour’s presence who invests equally in defense and attack, which is not the case with Pjanić.
Sarri thus experimented in a derby with Inter in March before the championship was suspended; Bentancur delighted in Pjanić’s position, with which the BiH national team player began to lose his importance at Juventus. Bentancur will, quite clearly, take over the strings in the midfield, and right next to him will be Arthur who fits in perfectly with Sarri’s football style.
“Arthur is not physically powerful, but he knows what he needs in terms of position. He makes up for it. I think his ideal role is to play as a second midfielder who distributes the ball. He is not a traditional playmaker or one who plays behind the striker. Italian football is now the best option for him and I’m sure he’ll be right there and he won’t have to change his way of playing, ”commented Luis Felipe Scolari, Arthur’s former coach and 2002 world champion with Brazil.
“I know Sarri and I really like him as a coach. He’s world class. Sarri’s attacking mentality is very interesting and Arthur is able to play from one or two touches. Sarri is therefore the perfect coach for him to show as much as he can. I think he will it will be a wonderful collaboration, ”concluded Scolari who led Arthur to the Grammy.
A crowd of unconvincing characters
The Juventus current coach prefers formations with three midfielders, and two places for next season have already been filled. Blaise Matuidi, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot will fight for the position of the third, but it is logical to expect that one or two players will drop out of this description because their statistical parameters speak for themselves.
It is believed that it should be German Sami Khedira, a 32-year-old German who is constantly injured this season, and even in the little time he spent on the field he was simply not up to standard, although Sarri often referred to him as a key player.
Blaise Matuidi, Khedira’s peer and world champion with France in 2018, is technically below the level required by Sarriball, although his physical and tactical power Sarri considers important for the team and is therefore Matuidi’s first team player and first contender for a place alongside Arthur and Bentancur.
The Italian champions should offer another year of proving to Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, a duo who arrived in Turin last summer after the expiration of their contract with Arsenal and PSG, respectively.
This season, the Frenchman and the Welshman have not shown much and Juventus is acting patiently so far as Ramsey is prone to injuries, and Rabiot has not played competitively for more than half a year before coming to Juventus due to quarrels with the former club.
Of course, neither has the status of untouchable, so in the case of a good offer, Juventus’ leaders should probably not be crushed for a long time.
Death like a dream
Meanwhile, Sarri will be drafting some new, faster and more attractive Juventus in his traditionally smoky office. The dice are slowly coming together, Arthur is here, and another big name among midfielders could land.
This is no secret either – Andrea Agnelli, Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici have been dreaming for a long time about the return of their runaway son Paul Pogba, who left Juventus for Manchester United in the summer of 2016.
He has not yet been regretted in Turin because he played the best football in his career and, according to information from the Italian, French and English media, the 27-year-old would gladly return to northern Italy.
The problem for Juventus is finances, especially after the coronavirus pandemic, and it is believed that Pogba will remain a dream.
VIDEO: Assistance kills at Juventus