Midfielder Arthur Melo has refused to play for FC Barcelona, according to a report Spanish outlet SPORT. The report states that Arthur unilaterally decided not to play for the club in the upcoming Champions League fixtures and did not appear at the club when required.

Melo has a contract with Barcelona until the end of the Champions League, and he could face severe consequences for his actions—if the narrative presented in the report is accurate.

Summary Of the Report From SPORT 

Melo—along with the rest of the first team—was given a week off by Setien before resuming training on the 28th of July.

The Brazillian was expected to show up at the club premises on the 27th of July for the COVID-19 tests before the beginning of the Champions League in August. However, the reports claim that he did not appear for the tests.

According to the report, Melo went to Ibiza for a few days. Then, he returned back to Brazil without the permission of the club. From there, he informed the Barcelona hierarchy about his decision not to play for the club anymore through telephone.

The SPORT report also claimed that Barcelona asked Arthur to come back to the club even after his refusal.

What Might Have Caused Aruther To Take Such Decision?

Suppose the narrative presented in the report is accurate, the primary reason Arthur might have taken such bold and repulsive decision maybe because of his frustration at the club. In June 2020, he was forced out of the club to Juventus FC in a bizarre exchange deal for Miralem Pjanic, even though he did not want to go. 

Another striking reason could be his lack of game time since the deal with Juventus was finalized. Manager Setien has frozen him out of the squad ever since the deal was done. He has not played a single game for the team since then, and this frustration could have led him to do such a thing.

SPORT also states that Arthur is ready to break the contract and face the consequences instead. 

Lack Of Players And A Potential Chance For Ramon Rodriguez Jimenez (Monchu)

If Arthur does end up not playing for Barcelona again, Barcelona will be in shortage of men in the midfield for the Champions League RO16 second leg match against Napoli. Similarly, the team will also have a shortage of players in the midfield for the upcoming season. 

In the game against Napoli in particular, Barcelona will not have Busquets and Vidal for that match because of respective card suspension. And if Arthur doesn’t play, Barcelona are left with just two senior players in the midfield: Frenkie de Jong and Ivan Rakitic.

However, the redemption may come in the form of appearances of the players such as Ricard “Riqui” Puig Marty (Riqui Puig ) from the B-team, and Sergi Roberto—who can deputize in basically every position. But the strategy to depend on the youngsters without an adequate first-team appearance will always be questionable. 

Oppurtunities For Ramon Rodriguez Jimenez (Monchu)

Melo’s absence could, however, prompt Setien to look to the B-team to fulfill the deficit of midfielders. There are a couple of midfield players who have impressed this season, such as Jimenez, Puig, Ludovit Reis, and Alvaro Sanz Catalan. 

Among the talented B-team players, Jimenez is arguably the one who has impressed everyone the most. The B-team captain leads the team in terms of goals scored and ranks third for assists provided.

The Palma native scored ten goals this season and assisted three in 29 games—two of those goals came during the B-team’s three promotion playoff games.

In addition to his performances for the B-team, Jimenez also has had a small taste of the first-team environment. Previously, Setien included him in every matchday squad between matchday 28 to 35 of La Liga. This inclusion might hint that the manager knows his capability to at least make him a backup for the first team.

Considering the player-drought in Barcelona and the majority of aged players in the first-team squad, Setien might consider playing him, even if just for a few minutes to rest the senior players. If this happens, it will be a huge morale boost for Jimenez.