Conte Prepares For Life After Fabregas With The Signing Of This Barcelona Target With A £50m Clause

As we edge towards December, the rumour mill begins to accelerate with proposed transfer targets being revealed ahead of the January window. According to reports, Chelsea have entered the race to sign Gremio starlet Arthur Melo. The Blues are said to rival Barcelona for the signature of the midfielder.

The 21-year-old midfielder who has a £50million release clause is seen by Antonio Conte as a potential long-term successor of Cesc Fabregas. According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Sport Witness), Chelsea are one of a number of clubs with ‘maximum interest’ in attacking midfielder Arthur. Barcelona have also been linked and it’s believed offers will arrive for the player sooner rather than later.

Arthur broke into the Gremio first-team squad in the last 12 months and his rich vein of form was rewarded with a maiden call-up to the senior international squad by coach Tite in September but is yet to make his full international debut.

The midfielder has already drawn comparisons to Barcelona greats Xavi and Iniesta for his style of play and helped Gremio win their first Copa Libertadores – the South American version of Champions League – in 22 years.

However, it appears Barcelona’s interest in the Brazilian has hit an unnecessary snag. Gremio management are said to be furious after Arthur was pictured wearing a Barcelona shirt and standing alongside the club representative Andre Cury, who secured the signing of Neymar in 2013. This has not gone well with the South American giants, as they labelled the Catalan giants’ actions as “unprecedented”, and insist they have no intention of opening negotiations.

Regarding Barcelona’s interest, Arthur was quoted in a report by Mirror as saying:

“On the Barcelona matter, they did speak with me. We had a meeting, but I want to say that there’s nothing final.

“Nothing has been defined and I did not sign anything. I am a Gremio player.”

So as it appears, Barcelona’s loss could be Chelsea’s gain as according to Gremio vice-president Odorico Roman, the pursuit for the highly-rated midfielder is still on.

Conte is on the hunt to add fresh faces in the squad in the winter transfer window. Arthur currently has a contract with Gremio but with a £50million release clause, which is usually a lot of money.

However, it’s a fee that our board won’t have an issue with, especially if they believe he’s worth the investment.

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