Bengaluru, December 17: Spanish giants Real Madrid are reportedly interested in Gremio midfield sensation Arthur and want to hijack their rivals Barcelona's move for the Brazil international.
Recent photographs on social media appeared to show the Gremio midfielder wearing a Barca shirt with the club's sporting director Robert Fernandez.
He is a long-term target of the Blaugrana and the pictures suggest that Barcelona are close to landing the player who could replace Sergio Busquets in the long run.
Marca, however, claim that the midfielder, 21, has not yet signed a deal with the La Liga giants. They also claim that Real Madrid are now taking an interest in the Brazilian, who was recently called up by his national team for the first time.
It was previously reported that Gremio reckon they can bank around £44million for their star.
Marca's report also states that the Porto Alegre club want to hold onto him for another year. However, this week Gremio chief Andre Zanotta admitted that he will struggle to stop the player moving to Europe.
Zanotta is furious with Barcelona over their approach but he knows that he may need to sell due to the club's financial position.
Arthur has said: “On the Barcelona matter, they did speak with me.
“We had a meeting but I want to say nothing is final.
“Nothing has been decided and I did not sign anything. I am a Gremio player.”
Chelsea are also interested in the Gremio playmaker who has been compared to Barcelona legend Xavi for his style of play.
Arthur has been an integral part of Gremio's challenge both at home and abroad this season, having played 38 matches for them this term, scoring one goal and providing one further assist.
The 21-year-old is predominantly a defensive midfielder with an excellent range of passing and Barcelona view him as a long-term replacement of Sergio Busquets who has been the base of the Barcelona midfield trio for more than a decade now.