It does seem as though Barcelona and Juventus will exchange Arthur and Miralem Pjanic this summer. It has been reported that the clubs are ‘closing in’ on the deal and Arthur has accepted a potential move to Juventus. What Barcelona should be more concerned about is the player they’re getting and it’ll show how bad their business has been over the years.
Even on paper, swapping a 23-year-old midfielder for an aging midfielder of the same type doesn’t really make much sense. No disrespect to Pjanic’s abilities despite the average season he’s had, there is hardly a long-term planning there like keeping Arthur would allow. And that is a reflection of what Barca have become- a club that is poorly run and has done some bad deals.
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The club sold Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 for a world record fee of £200m. From that money, they managed to sign Ousmane Dembele initially and also signed Philippe Coutinho some months later. Fast forward to today, Coutinho is being sold by the club after spending a single season at the club and Dembele has missed 86 games due to injury since joining.
The money they got from a world record transfer fee that might not be replicated in the next few years hasn’t been used well at all. As a result, they have failed to win the Champions League even once and succumbed to comebacks against Roma and Liverpool. They also signed Gerard Deulofeu back, but sent him back on loan to Watford in the winter of 2018 just to make a financial profit.
They also signed Malcom from Bordeaux in the summer of 2018. But after only a single season, they moved the Brazilian on after a single season without having played him too much. He signed for Zenit in the summer of 2019. In an attempt to sign a star player as Dembele’s signing and Malcom’s signing failed, Barca signed Antoine Griezmann in the summer of 2019 as well. He arrived for as much as £107 million.
Since 2015, Barca have now spent close to £1 billion and they haven’t tasted European success, despite everything. As a result, they are in massive debt. As per a statement on the website, the La Liga giants are in a debt of €217.2 million and a large part of that is because of the sort of business they’ve done. Despite that, they have been interested in Lautaro Martinez even when he would cost €111 million.
Judging by the debt they are in and the financial position they are in, they would certainly want some cash to ease the restrictions. Arthur, being young, will give them more money as Pjanic would not cost as much because he’s a bit older. It could also free up some cash for signing Martinez and help them in more ways than one.
But for a club like Barcelona, it is strange to see a club operating while they have finances as their main concern. But this approach will not take them anywhere.