Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are planning to hijack Barcelona’s move for Gremio star Arthur, according to reports.
Earlier last week, the Brazilian midfielder was snapped in a Barcelona shirt and reports in Spain had claimed that Arthur was on the brink of agreeing a deal with the La Liga club.
The Brazilian has now rubbished rumours claiming that he has agreed personal terms with Barcelona – although he has admitted that the Barca bosses have held talks with him.
And now Chelsea and Man Utd are planning to launch a move for Arthur, who has a £44million release clause in his contract at Gremio.
Reports claim that Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has identified the wonder-kid as one of his transfer targets and he could replace Maroune Fellaini, if the Belgian opts to leave Man Utd in January.
The Mirror claim Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has identified Arthur as a long-term replacement for former Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas.
Arthur earned the man of the match award as Gremio won the Copa Libertadores title last week.
But after a photo surfaced on the social media showing him in a Barcelona shirt, Arthur hit back at Barcelona paving way for a move to the Premier League.
“We had a meeting but I want to say that there is nothing closed, there is nothing defined,” Arthur told Brazilian TV channel Esporte Interativo.
“I did not sign anything. I’m a Gremio player
There is no way Arthur Melo doesn’t come now. Barça’s sporting director, our sporting director literally took a picture with him wearing a Barcelona jersey on. It’s 100% happening and i think he’s coming in January. pic.twitter.com/O0r6QHxFVA
— ᵁᴸᵀᴿᴬ® (@UltraAutistic) December 2, 2017
“We have not started the negotiations.
“Then, if I sign the contract, I will be a Barcelona player, but this has not happened.
“It has to be something good for me and good for Gremio, which is my home.
“It’s a club that I admire a lot, I came here with 14 years. I’m a gremista at heart, my blood is blue.
“It was only a first contact for them to know my family and for me to meet them.
“Let’s take it easy. There is nothing defined but we did have a conversation.”