Report: Barcelona Makes First Formal Bid for Gremio Star Arthur

Arthur is a rising star for the Copa Libertadores champion and earned plaudits at the FIFA Club World Cup.
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Barcelona look increasingly likely to secure the signing of rising Gremio midfielder Arthur after the Brazilian club and reigning Copa Libertadores champions finally appear resigned to selling.

Barça have been interested in Arthur for some time and sent technical secretary Robert Fernandez to see him in action in the Libertadores final in November. A meeting with the player followed and was the source of controversy after a photo emerged of Arthur in a Barça shirt.

It was subsequently rumored that Gremio would only entertain bids that triggered the player's €50m release clause, but that firm stance now seems to have softened.

In quotes published by Catalan outlet Sport, Gremio coach Renato Gaucho has admitted that president Romildo Bolzan has informed him that both Arthur and forward Luan 'could be sold'.

"During my holidays I spoke a lot with the president, and both Arthur and Luan could be sold depending on the club and offer that arrive. The rest of the squad I'm sure will continue with us, it's all under control," he said.

With rumors earlier this month that Arthur, who has been likened to Camp Nou legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta, personally idolizing the latter, has made it clear to Barça that he wants to join, it seems as though a deal could only be a matter of time.

According to Brazilian outlet GauchaZH, Barça submitted their first formal offer for 21-year-old Arthur over the weekend at a meeting attended by key figures from all parties.

That package was said to be €30m for 100% of Arthur's economic rights. In what could be confused for an episode of 'Dragon's Den', Gremio, while accepting that they must sell, are apparently holding out for a €40m deal that will only give Barça 60% of Arthur's economic rights.

The other 40% would be split between Brazilian businessman Celso Rigo and Arthur himself.

While Barça are the first club to make a formal offer, GauchaZH claims there has been interest in the player from three other European clubs: Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. That obviously does not include the earlier links with Real Madrid or Chelsea.