Midfielder Arthur close to Barcelona move
Rio de Janeiro: A deal that would see highly rated Gremio midfielder Arthur move to Barcelona next January is "90 per cent complete", according to reports in the Brazilian media.
Officials from both clubs have been in talks since December over the 21-year-old, who has been likened to Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez, reports Xinhua.
"You could say that it's 90 per cent complete. There are just some little details remaining," Globoesporte quoted a Barcelona official as saying.
It added that all parties had agreed in principal to a five-year contract, meaning Arthur would be tied to the Catalan club until early 2024.
Earlier, Gremio president Romildo Bolzan denied that a deal had already been struck.
"There have been plenty of discussions, but at this stage the transfer cannot be considered a foregone conclusion," he told Radio Bandeirantes.
Arthur has also been linked to Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Monaco after a superb 2017 season in which he helped Gremio win the Copa Libertadores, South America's top club competition.
In October, the Brazilian club extended his contract until 2021 and added a 50 million-euro buyout clause.
The former Goias youth-team player earned his first call-up to Brazil's national squad last October.