Barcelona were widely considered to have taken a significant risk when they agreed to sell Arthur to Juventus, regardless of the initial €72m they will receive and confirmation that they will sign Miralem Pjanic from Italy’s leading club. There remained optimism that, alongside Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, Arthur was capable of featuring in a midfield that one day may have been considered worthy successors to the Xavi-Busquets-Iniesta axis that so impressively inspired such success.
Barca’s potential loss, however, is as widely expected to represent Juve’s gain. In Pjanic, Aaron Ramsey, Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentacur they perhaps already had the finest midfield options in club football – and to the extent that Emre Can became so peripheral he had little choice but to leave. Within those options, Brazil’s Arthur could even emerge as the most important of all.