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Arsenal hit obstacle in Arthur Melo transfer as Juventus demand unrealistic swap deal

Mirror logo Mirror 16/1/2022 Jacob Leeks

Arsenal have hit a new obstacle in their bid to sign Arthur Melo after Juventus reportedly demanded an unrealistic swap deal in order to complete the transfer.

The Gunners are looking to boost their squad for the second-half of the season as they attempt to beat Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham to the final top four spot.

A £150million summer spending spree helped Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to improve a number of weaknesses in his side, but there remains a concerning gap in central midfield.

That gap has become especially apparent after the red card shown to Granit Xhaka in the Carabao Cup draw at Liverpool, with Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Arsenal's bid to sign Juventus star Arthur has hit another obstacle © Getty Images Arsenal's bid to sign Juventus star Arthur has hit another obstacle

Arteta thought he had found the man to fill that gap in Juventus star Arthur, who has struggled for regular game-time under Massimiliano Allegri.

It was thought that Juve were ready to sanction a loan move for the Brazilian midfielder, who only joined the Serie A giants 18 months ago from Barcelona.

The deal appeared to be progressing quickly, with Goal Brazil reporting on Thursday that the 25-year-old had agreed personal terms with the Gunners.

Having started just three games in the Italian top-flight, Arthur is keen to leave the Allianz Stadium, but Juve held off on sanctioning the deal until they had a replacement.

At first, they hoped that replacement would be Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who himself is way down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

But rather than send him out on the third loan of his career, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel instead wants him to stay.

“We haven’t talked about it, he’s had a lot of game time, I would say,” Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City.

“If you look at the last years and look at this season, I think he’s had a lot of game time and lot to fight for here. We talk about Ruben [and that’s] my personal opinion.”

Thomas Tuchel blocked Juve's move for Ruben Loftus-Cheek © AFP via Getty Images Thomas Tuchel blocked Juve's move for Ruben Loftus-Cheek

With Loftus-Cheek no longer available, Juventus turned their sights to another target, though it was far more unrealistic.

According to Sky Sports Italy, as part of the deal to sign Arthur, the Old Lady demanded Arsenal star Partey in return.

Partey has been a key player for Arteta since joining from Atletico Madrid ahead of last season and has impressed this term.

But the report states that Juve would be ‘willing’ to let Arthur move to the Emirates only if Partey goes in the opposite direction.

Juve have now demanded Thomas Partey is part of the deal for Arthur © Arsenal FC via Getty Images Juve have now demanded Thomas Partey is part of the deal for Arthur

It is claimed that proposal has been given short shrift by Arsenal, who ‘would not entertain’ the idea of losing the Ghana international.

The unrealistic demand for Partey throws up another obstacle for the Gunners to complete the deal, with Allegri making the first hint that Arthur would in fact stay on Friday.

“I have already said it, this is our team and we need to complete the season with the current squad in the best possible way,” the Juve boss said.

“This means reaching the top four in the league and progressing in the Champions League, and on Tuesday there is the Coppa Italia. We are growing as a team, we just have to stay calm.”

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