Arthur wants Barcelona stay, club open to sale - sources

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Arthur Melo has said he wants to stay at Barcelona but sources have told ESPN the club are open to listening to offers for the midfielder or using him as part of a player-exchange deal.

Barca value Arthur, who signed from Gremio in 2018 for €30 million, at around €60m and he has been linked with both Tottenham and Juventus in recent weeks.

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The coronavirus pandemic is likely to have long-lasting effects on the transfer market and sources have explained that, given those circumstances, only three players are untouchable at Barca: Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Arthur, 23, is among the players they would be willing to listen to offers for, but the Brazil international says he has no intention of leaving Camp Nou this summer.

"There is always speculation but my idea is clear," Arthur said in a statement on Wednesday. "The only option that interests me is staying at Barcelona.

"I feel good here and I am grateful to the club and the coaching staff for the confidence they have in me. The supposed interest of big clubs is always flattering and a positive sign, but my mind is on playing for Barcelona for many years. This is where I have always wanted to be."

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A source close to Arthur, whose contract runs until 2024, has also told ESPN that Barcelona have told the player they are happy for him to stay.

"If Barca had told him he can speak with other clubs it would be because they don't want him, but that's not happened and Arthur is 100% convinced he will continue where he is," the source said.

"He is at the best club in the world and a move to [Juventus] in Italy is not in his plans. He wants to stay where he is and Barca have said they're counting on him."

However, that contrasts with what sources at Barca have told ESPN. The club need to raise funds to finance a move for Lautaro Martinez or Neymar this summer and are willing to listen to offers for anyone except Messi, De Jong and Ter Stegen.

They would also be open to doing player-exchange deals or using players as makeweights to bring down the cost of their transfer targets.

Sources have told ESPN that there have been informal talks with Juventus about Arthur in which Rodrigo Bentancur, Miralem Pjanic and Matthijs de Ligt were also discussed.

Barca are fans of Bentancur and have attempted to sign Pjanic in the past, while they also wanted to bring in De Ligt from Ajax last summer before he moved to Juve. However, there are people at the Spanish champions who remain angry about how the Dutch defender and his agent, Mino Raiola, pulled out of a move to Camp Nou.