Manchester United blow as Barcelona close in on combative midfielder: report

According to reports in Spain, Manchester United look set to miss out on Arthur Melo, with Barcelona closing in on the Gremio midfielder.

The 21-year-old, who has worked his way up the ranks to the Gremio first-team, has made 28 Serie A appearances this season and a further 12 in the Copa Libertadores. He’s contracted with the Brazilian outfit until 2021 but could be on the move to the Nou Camp.

The Catalan chiefs have travelled to Brazil to speak with representatives of Gremio, with their president Romildo Bolzan confirming: “Talks are ongoing and some progresses have been made. Arthur will play for us for a few more months but right now there is no agreement yet.”

It’s a bitter blow for Manchester United, as the Red Devils had been linked with Melo for months. He’s a combative player, boasting a tackle or interception every 28 minutes this season, and seldom gives away the ball (93% pass completion ratio)

Melo has created 22 chances and made 16 dribbles (89% success rate). He’d be perfect for breaking up the play in the middle of the park, as well as retaining possession and controlling the engine room. But Barcelona look closest to signing the Gremio star, although the asking price is unknown.

Manager Jose Mourinho will now have to look elsewhere for a midfielder. With Michael Carrick retiring, Marouane Fellaini being linked with Spain, Ander Herrera linked with Milan and Paul Pogba linked with Real Madrid, United could be depleted in the summer.

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