Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has lifted the lid on what motivated Arthur Melo's controversial transfer from the club to Juventus. The Blaugrana chief has revealed that the decision was made to favor the 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder who refused to sign a new contract in order to triple his salary by joining the Bianconeri.
Arthur joined Barcelona in a €31 million deal in 2018 after an impressive stint with Gremio which saw him win the Copa Libertadores in 2017 and Campeonato Gaúcho in 2018. Having signed a six-year contract, the midfielder was touted as one of the prospects who could be crucial to the Catalans' success story in the near future.
However, a shock announcement in June by Barca revealed the player has sealed a move to Juventus, a deal which will see Miralem Pjanic heading in the opposite direction. In addition, the Turin club will pay the Spanish club an extra fee off 10 million euros.
According to Bartomeu, the financial situation of the former La Liga champions did not allow them to hold onto Arthur. He subsequently stated that the midfielder had all the cards in his hands if he fancied staying.
"We had wanted to renew Arthur's contract, but the economic situation is complicated," Bartomeu told Catalan newspaper Sport.
"Besides, Arthur had this good offer from another club, who had Pjanic, and the Bosnian is a player we have been interested in for a long time. The decision to leave Barcelona was therefore with Arthur, who was unable to make himself an indispensable player here.
"Juve are offering him first team football, but above all he will earn triple his current salary, as the fiscal situation in Italy is very advantageous."
Ahead of his switch to the Serie A in September, Arthur penned a five-year contract. Following the conclusion of La Liga, the midfielder – who is reportedly furious at feeling pushed out of Camp Nou – has refused to play for Barcelona again. The player has, as a result, failed to attend any of the recent training sessions and has no plans of participating in the Champions League.
In light of that, Bartomeu has indicated that the club is ready to take action against the rebellious Brazilian midfielder as he is still under contract.
"We had an agreement with him that he'd play with Barcelona until the end of the season. He is an important player and could help us, but he didn't turn up. This is unacceptable behaviour, so we have decided to take action against him.
"We must analyse what happened and try to understand the causes. We'll ask the player what his motivations were, but there will certainly be sanctions.
"If a worker does not work, he doesn't get paid. He also showed an unacceptable lack of respect towards his teammates and the club. It's unjustifiable."