Barcelona's Arthur: 'Fantastic' to be compared to Xavi and Iniesta
Arthur welcomed comparisons to Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez after becoming the first signing of what's lining up to be a busy summer at Barcelona.
The Brazilian midfielder, who joins from Gremio for an initial €31 million, signed a six-year deal at Barca on Thursday, with his release clause set at €400m.
Barca have also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot as they look to restructure their midfield following the departures of Andres Iniesta and Paulinho.
Sporting director Eric Abidal wouldn't talk about the speculation regarding Rabiot, but did laud the arrival of Arthur, a player he says has "Barca DNA."
Arthur, meanwhile, was happy to take on comparisons with former Barca midfielders Iniesta and Xavi.
"I am really happy that they say I have Barca DNA," the 21-year-old said in a news conference.
"To come here is fantastic for me, it has always been my dream. I know there will be tough moments but I will try to learn from those moments.
"Being compared with Xavi and Iniesta is fantastic. I don't hide my passion for them. I will always admire them. I couldn't say which one I have more in common with, though.
Xavi and Iniesta helped usher in the most successful era in the history of Barcelona and became synonymous with the club's style of play.
But being compared to two club legends, Arthur adds, will not weigh on him: "It won't affect me, each person is their own person and I am Arthur. I have to show everyone why I am here.
"I know what they did and they're a mirror for me and my career. They made history with the club and I will work as hard as I can to get as close to that as possible."
Following the news conference, Barca confirmed that they had signed Sevilla's Clement Lenglet after executing his €35.9m release clause.
The French centre-back becomes the Catalan club's second signing of the summer but they continue to work on more.
Rabiot has emerged as a target in midfield while Chelsea's Eden Hazard has been linked as a possible signing in attack after Antoine Griezmann turned down a chance to move to the La Liga champions.
When asked about Rabiot, Abidal said he would not speak about potential signings until deals are over the line. He also refused to comment on any interest in Hazard.
"You'd have to ask him," Abidal said when asked if the Chelsea forward wants to move to Barcelona this summer.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.