That point is surely not lost on the Old Lady, who have pushed hard for months to seal Arthur’s signature. Puig too, on the back of his impressive cameo against Athletic, is now seen as an acceptable replacement in midfield, positive news for fans of La Masia but undue pressure to place on a kid with just two Liga starts to his name.
It is further down the line, however, that he may really be missed, if he can make a smooth adaptation to life in Serie A while Pjanic falls victim to the malaise that has engulfed Barcelona these past months.
From a footballing point of view, however, it feels like the latest blunder from a board which has made a habit out of making the wrong move.
A mixture of injuries, intense competition for midfield places and the club’s own failings, though, have prevented him from pushing on and realising his undoubted potential, meaning few will mourn his departure from Camp Nou with any real emphasis.
Someone had to go in the Catalans’ midfield and Frenkie de Jong is off-limits. With the likes of Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Vidal all on the wrong side of 30 it makes financial sense that the 23-year-old ex-Gremio star is the man to go.
s sale will have the effect of trimming Barca’s bloated, unwieldy first-team squad as well as pushing the club towards meeting its 2020 budgetary targets.
While Pjanic, who is set to move the other way in an officially separate deal that will cost Barca €60m, comes with a sterling reputation it is hard to see how much of a material improvement the Bosnia international represents.
The Brazilian also made a fine start to life at Camp Nou under intense scrutiny, billed as the club’s definitive replacement not just for the irreplaceable Xavi but also for Andres Iniesta, possessing aspects of each Barca legend’s game.
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