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Football Focus: Barcelona buy Pjanic for Arthur

Rediff News 2020-06-30 00:54:00

Barcelona sell Arthur to Juventus for 72 million euros, buy Pjanic for 60 million

IMAGE: Barcelona's Arthur celebrates scoring their second goal with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona have reached an agreement to sell Brazil midfielder Arthur Melo to Juventus for a fee of 72 million euros ($80.98 million) and signed Bosnian Miralem Pjanic from the Italian champions for 60 million, the La Liga side said on Monday.

 

The 23-year-old, generally known simply as Arthur, will remain at the Camp Nou until the end of the 2019-20 season, which has been extended until August because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, before moving to Turin.

Pjanic, 30, will also move to the Camp Nou at the end of the campaign and sign a four-year contract containing a release clause of 400 million euros, said Barca’s statement, adding his transfer fee was worth an additional five million in variables.

Bosnian international Pjanic has been at Juve since 2016, having previously played for AS Roma plus French sides Olympique Lyonnais and Metz.

The transfer helps Barca meet their target of a further 70 million euros in revenues from player sales before June 30, in line with the budget the club’s members approved last October which forecast income of 124 million euros from transfers.


Barcelona have the highest revenues in world football but their finances have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting ticket sales, television rights and merchandising, leading the club to enact a 70% pay cut for players in April.

But the negotiation has attracted criticism from Spanish future presidential candidate Victor Font, who said the deal came about due to the club’s financial mismanagement.

“The deal once again proves the board’s absolute priority is to balance the books by letting key players go. The financial situation has been bad for many years, long before the pandemic,” he said on Twitter.

Barca did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Font’s words.

Arthur joined Barca from Brazilian side Gremio in July 2018 and was initially hailed as the heir to former club great Xavi Hernandez, with Lionel Messi saying he was surprised by the player’s similarities to the side’s former puppet master.

But despite a promising opening spell, Arthur made only 19 league starts in his first season with the club and 14 this campaign, and coach Quique Setien said earlier this month that he had not lived up to expectations.

There were also issues off the field.

In March 2019, he apologised for travelling to Paris during the season to attend the birthday party of Brazil team mate Neymar. Last December, Catalan television network said Arthur had gone snowboarding while sidelined with a groin injury.

Pochettino's 19-year-old son Maurizio signs new deal at Tottenham

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur's Maurizio Pochettino in action. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino’s son Maurizio has signed a new contract at the Premier League club, the 19-year-old said in a social media post on Monday.

Winger Maurizio, whose current deal was due to expire on Tuesday, announced the contract extension on Instagram, sharing a photo with his father along with the caption “Looking forwards to the new season.”

Neither the club nor Maurizio said how long the new deal would last for. However, sports data website transfermarkt said it would last until 2022.

Maurizio joined the north London club’s academy in 2017 but is yet to make a senior appearance.

His father Pochettino was sacked by Spurs in November after more than five years in charge and was replaced by Portuguese boss Jose Mourinho.

Spurs are seventh in the league standings with 45 points, nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Buffon and Chiellini sign one-year deals with Juventus

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and central defender Giorgio Chiellini have signed new one-year contracts to stay with the club until the end of the 2020-21 season, the reigning Italian champions announced on Monday.

Buffon, 42, joined Juve from Parma in 2001 and has made over 669 appearances for the club, returning to Turin at the start of the campaign after one season with Paris St Germain.

The 2006 World Cup winner has played 13 times in all competitions this season as back-up to Wojciech Szczesny.



Centre back Chiellini, 35, entering his 16th year at Juventus, has racked up 509 appearances for the club.

Both players are aiming to help Juve win a ninth consecutive league title and their first Champions League trophy since 1996.

Meanwhile, Barcelona announced they have reached agreement to sell Brazil midfielder Arthur Melo to Juve in a deal worth 72 million euros ($80.91 million).