Premier League • England

Arsenal board leave Edu red-faced after snubbing chance to sign top Arteta midfield target

Arthur Melo, August 2020

Arsenal’s board reportedly turned down the chance to sign midfielder Arthur Melo on an 18-month loan deal, despite transfer chief Edu agreeing on the structure of the move with Juventus counterpart Federico Cherubini.

A report in the Daily Express states that the Gunners’ hierarchy are believed to have preferred a short-term solution, which leaves Mikel Arteta’s hunt for a new midfielder hanging in the balance ahead of Monday evening’s transfer deadline.

The Arsenal boss wants to strengthen his engine room after injuries/Covid, suspensions and international call-ups caused major issues throughout January.

Ainsley-Maitland Niles was also allowed to join Roma on loan, while Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey jetted off to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations, Martin Odegaard tested positive for Covid and Granit Xhaka was banned after seeing red against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.

A loan deal for Juventus’ Arthur was therefore touted, in order to help bolster Arteta’s options.

Despite looking like a deal was imminent, Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri dismissed rumours of an exit.

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“This is our team and we’re not going to change anything,” insisted the Italian, “Arthur’s part of the Brazil national team, he’s an important player.”

Arthur Deal agreed before board steps in

And now The Athletic suggests that Arsenal actually came much closer to completing the deal than first suspected.

Edu and Cherubini reportedly signed off on an 18-month loan deal which included a £34million option to buy.

The former Gunners midfielder then presented that idea to the club’s hierarchy, only for it to be slapped down. The reason given being that the risk was deemed too high.

The Arsenal board actually favoured a short-term arrangement in case Arthur failed to have the desired impact.

The decision has come as a big blow to Arteta. who believes the player would have been a hit.

Arthur has played just 29 league games for the Bianconeri in one-and-a-half seasons, notching only once.

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