Arthur Melo was training yesterday morning at the Centro de Entrenamiento Presidente Luiz Carvalho, in the north of Porto Alegre, very close to the Arena Gremio. That will be one of the player's last training sessions with his club, Gremio, the team which helped turn him into the star of South American football.
Barcelona will exercise their first option on Arthur next week, bringing forward the €30m deal which was agreed back in May. The Brazilian will arrive on Friday at the latest after making a brief stop off in Sao Paulo.
Arthur and Sevilla's Clement Lenglet will become the first two new signings at Barcelona for the 2018/19 season. The Technical Secretary wants that after the Brazilian has completed the relevant protocols and presentations, he'll start training with the group next Wednesday (11th July) under the orders of Ernesto Valverde.
Arthur returned to training with Gremio on Monday after ten days rest which their coach, Renato Portaluppi, gave them because of the World Cup. The task at hand for Gremio is preparing for the upcoming Copa Libertadores campaign.
The midfielder, who will turn 22 in August, has taken advantage of this midseason break to complete all the training sessions in order to maintain his fitness. His plan is to join Barcelona in peak physical condition and knows how important it will be to start preseason well. First impressions count as he adapts to European football and the way Barcelona play under Valverde.
Arthur doesn't need a rest because he didn't play as much as he'd have liked for Gremio this year following an ankle ligament injury he suffered in the final of the Copa Libertadores in 2017. This caused him to miss the Club World Cup because he spent four months on the sidelines. He only returned to the team in March.
Since then - between the Campeonato Gaucho, the Brazilian League, the first stage of the Copa Libertadores and the Brazilian Cup - he's played a total of 1,363 minutes across 18 matches and scored 4 goals.
A muscle injury in May which caused him to miss three weeks of action saw him fail to make Tite's World Cup squad despite making the original list of 35.
If there are no setbacks, Arthur will make his debut in a Barcelona shirt during the International Champions Cup which will take place in the United States. On the 28th July they face Tottenham, on the 31st Roma and on the 4th August Milan. Real Madrid will also be involved in the competition but this year the two Spanish giants won't cross paths on the pitch.
Arthur Melo will take one of the club's three non-EU spots. The only way for the player to gain a European passport is through time spent living in the country. His arrival means that Barcelona will need to sell Yerry Mina, despite him shining at the World Cup with Colombia where he's scored two goals.
Coutinho will need to wait until the end of this year to get his Portuguese passport. This means he, alongside Paulinho and now Arthur, will make up the trifecta of non-EU players, all hailing from Brazil. The relationship between the three is fantastic after meeting in the Brazilian training camp back in October ahead of the final two group stage matches in World Cup qualifying. Arthur and Coutinho are particularly close and are in contact with each other quite often. No doubt his Brazilian teammates will help him adapt to his new surroundings in Barcelona.