Written by James Cranford – @jamescranford89
It took a dramatic Fabio Carvalho strike deep into ‘Kloppage time’ for Liverpool to beat a spirited Newcastle United on Wednesday night. A recurring theme reared its head online amongst Reds fans, with many criticising the midfield (with the exception of the excellent Harvey Elliott) and bemoaned the lack of transfer activity from the club in the face of a long injury list.
What a difference a day makes! As usual, the transfer committee has surprised fans and pundits alike with another swiftly-completed deal, in this case for Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo. The Brazilian has joined on loan until the end of the season, with the option to make the deal permanent for €37.5million.
On the latest episode of our Journo Insight Show, we asked goal.com’s Neil Jones for his opinion on the Deadline Day signing.
“Positives – he’s a midfielder! He’s 26, so he’s not a child, he’s not past it in terms of age-wise. He’s played at good clubs. He’s played at Barcelona, he’s played at Juventus, they both saw fit to sign him. He’s played for Brazil, 20-odd caps, so he’s clearly comfortable playing at a high level, or has been. He’s fit and available for now, which probably should have been the first thing I said! I’ve seen people say that he profiles similarly to Thiago, but a bit more defensive in terms of the way he plays. That’s not a bad thing if it comes off. It’s a loan deal which means that the risk is reduced. He should be able to settle in because there are a few Brazilians at the club.
The negatives – he hasn’t played any football this season which means he won’t be match fit, how quickly will he be starting games. He’s had a few injury problems so he should fit in quite well at Liverpool! Both Juventus and Barcelona have signed him both Juventus and Barcelona have got rid of him. what does that tell you? We don’t know.”
With the mooted signing of Jude Bellingham lingering in the background, it always seemed unlikely that Liverpool would spend big on a midfielder this window, having broken their transfer record with the signature of Darwin Núñez.
Jürgen Klopp changed his mind over the need for an extra midfield option as the weeks progressed, so Arthur feels like a good compromise signing.
The Reds have landed a player of clear pedigree and quality, without breaking the bank. Many have touted him as a possible backup for Thiago – he is more of a deep-lying passer than an all-action, workhorse-type midfielder. This could fit in with the idea that Liverpool are trying to evolve into a slicker midfield unit, rather than their previous ‘all energy’ style best exemplified by the likes of James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum.
There have to be a few lingering doubts given that two of Europe’s elite clubs have been happy to part with the player. He appears to pick up short-term knocks fairly regularly, which is a familiar story to Kopites when it comes to our midfield. Another La Liga star in Saúl Ñíguez was a complete non-entity during his loan spell at Chelsea last season. Hopefully the story will be different this time for Liverpool. Arise King Arthur!