Barca director apologises after images leak showing target posing with him in club colours

Gremio have told Barcelona and other suitors that they’ll need to pay €50m to sign midfielder Arthur.

TWO DAYS AGO, an image leaked online showing Gremio midfielder Arthur Melo, donning a Barcelona jersey, stood alongside the European giants’ sporting director, Robert Fernández.

Gremio are not best pleased.

The 21-year-old Brazilian prodigy has long been the subject of Barca’s attention while also perpetually being linked with a move to their La Liga rivals, Atlético, but Gremio’s president insists either club will be required to cough up big money should they wish to lure Arthur to Spain.

“Arthur has a contract with Grêmio and a release clause of €50 million” Romildo Bolzan told RAC1. “If they pay that we can’t do anything, but there is no conversation or negotiations open.”

Gremio are also said to be considering an official complaint to Fifa over what they perceive to be Barcelona’s tapping up of their midfield star.

Mundo Deportivo recently reported that Barça director Robert personally went to watch Arthur play in the Copa Libertadores final last month, with Gremio emerging as champions after defeating Argentina’s Lanus over two legs.

Arthur, a self-professed fan of the Catalan club’s legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta, was pictured in Barca colours alongside Camp Nou representative Andre Cury as well as Diego de Assis, a nephew of Gremio, Barcelona and Brazil icon Ronaldinho.

Gremio chief executive Andre Zanotta has since claimed that Robert apologised to the Brazilian club for the shirt-wearing controversy, telling Brazilian daily Globoesporte on Sunday:

Yesterday, Robert Fernandez, director of Barcelona, ​​called me. He apologised. Robert was in Porto Alegre. I apologised [on his behalf] to President Romildo. In our view, there is no reason to put a shirt on someone who has a contract until 2021.

Gavin Cooney
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It’s less than three years since Barcelona received a one-year ban on all transfers after the club was found to have “infringed the FIFA regulations with respect to the registration of a number of minor players”.

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