More than a few noses were put out of joint in Brazil late on Friday night following the publication of a photograph of Grêmio midfielder Arthur Henrique wearing a Barcelona shirt. The image was released by Globoesporte just as Blaugrana Technical Secretary Robert Fernández made a trip to South America to watch the 21-year-old player in action.
The photograph, in which Arthur appeared in a Barça shirt surrounded by friends and Barça scout Andre Cury, has infuriated Grêmio who are preparing to report the incident to FIFA for tapping up. “This young lad Arthur is our player. As for the whole way it was orchestrated, he's not to blame. I've been told that Barça have planned to take Arthur and his family to lunch today. Grêmio can't stop him from doing that but Barça are creating problems with Grêmio by trying to influence the kid. We're putting together a formal complaint to submit to FIFA accusing Barcelona of manipulation as soon as we have full confirmation about the way they acted”, Grêmio's legal advisor Nestor Hein told Estúdio Gaúcha.
The lawyer adds that Arthur isn't at fault for what happened but took aim at André Cury and the Assis family - Diego Assis, Roberto de Assis's son and Ronaldinho's nephew appears in the photo. “Arthur is under contract and there he is posing in a sinister photo with sinister characters… I had a very disagreeable experience André Cury, and there are members of the family I don't even want to mention (referring to Diego Assis); I would recommend that people give the likes of André Cury a wide berth”.
Gremio not willing to negotiate with Barcelona for Arthur
The Brazilian club describe Barça's actions as “unprecedented” and now are adamant that they will not negotiate with the Catalan club for Arthur, instead, they will listen to other clubs. The midfielder renewed terms to Grêmio last month and had his buy-out clause raised to 50 million euros.