Liverpool take Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus to solve midfield problem

Liverpool have addressed their midfield shortage by signing Arthur Melo on a season-long loan from Juventus.

The Brazil international travelled to Merseyside for a medical on deadline day after an approach from Liverpool in the early hours of Thursday. Jürgen Klopp claimed after Wednesday’s win over Newcastle that the arrival of a midfielder was unlikely but the hamstring injury sustained by Jordan Henderson prompted the late move for Arthur.

Henderson is due to have a scan on Friday. There are concerns the Liverpool captain could be out until the international break this month, meaning he would miss Premier League games against Everton, Wolves and Chelsea, Champions League group matches versus Napoli and Ajax and possibly England’s final games before the World Cup.

Liverpool’s deal for Arthur will cost €4.5m for the season and contains an option to permanently buy the midfielder for €37.5m, although the Premier League club are not expected to exercise that clause, keeping the path open to move for primary midfield target Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund next summer.

Arthur signed for Juventus in 2020 as part of the swap deal that took Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona, whom the Brazilian joined for €31m in 2018. But the 26-year-old has made only 24 starts in Serie A and found himself on the margins of Massimiliano Allegri’s plans last season.

Personal terms were agreed swiftly with Arthur, who won the Copa Libertadores with Grêmio in 2017 and is viewed by Liverpool as the kind of experienced, deep-lying midfielder they need. Liverpool tried to sign Aurélien Tchouaméni from Monaco this summer but the France international was set on a move to Real Madrid, whom he joined in a €100m deal. Bellingham was another favoured option but Dortmund had no intention of selling the England international in the same summer as losing Erling Haaland to Manchester City.

With top targets unavailable, Klopp was adamant another midfield option was not required before the Premier League campaign given the progress of Harvey Elliott and the summer signing Fábio Carvalho. But a succession of injuries in midfield forced a rethink.

Henderson is the fifth Liverpool midfielder to be sidelined this season. Thiago Alcântara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also sustained hamstring injuries, on the opening day at Fulham and during pre-season respectively, and Curtis Jones and Naby Keïta have not featured since the Community Shield win over City on 30 July. But Thiago and Jones are close to a return.

Liverpool hope their strong Brazilian contingent of Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, plus the goalkeeping coach Claudio Taffarel, will help Arthur settle quickly. Liverpool’s fourth summer signing is eligible to make his debut in Saturday’s derby at Everton.

“It’s a dream,” Arthur said of his move. “We talked a lot, and our ideas and visions were a good fit so I’m sure it was the right choice. I’m really happy and highly motivated.”