At the start of this season’s Brasileirão, few had heard of Gremio’s playmaker Arthur Henrique Ramos de Oliveira Melo, more commonly known as ‘Arthur’. The diminutive midfielder burst onto the scene with a string of fine performances that have earned him a call-up to the seleção and could land him a move to Europe and a place on the plane to Russia for next year’s World Cup.
Arthur has been a mainstay of Gremio’s midfield as the Porto Alegre side have assured themselves of a top four finish in the league, and are on course to winning the Copa Libertadores, having won the first leg of the final 1-0 against Lanus. The second leg in Buenos Aires is tonight and it could well be Arthur’s final appearance for ‘Imortal Tricolor’.
Gremio turned down a bid for him in the summer from an unnamed Premier League club, but with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United all circling, it looks likely that Arthur will be moving to Europe in the January transfer window.
Brazil have a glittering array of attacking talent and some of the world’s best defenders but if they have an area of weakness ahead of next year’s World Cup it is in midfield. A midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Renato Augusto is good, but probably not at the level of European heavyweights Spain and Germany.
Arthur is a midfielder who can do it all, boasting an average passing accuracy of 93% plus 3 tackles/interceptions per game in the league this season. He possesses a burst of pace and the vision to play imaginative passes, which has seen him compared to Andres Iniesta, and he could just be the final piece in Brazil’s jigsaw as they aim to win their first World Cup since 2002.