As June winds down along with league play, clubs everywhere are making moves to bolster their teams for next season. Two such moves were announced today. Belgian right back Thomas Menuier agreed to a four-year deal with Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer. Also, Barcelona and Juventus agreed to swap midfielders Arthur and Miralem Pjanic with Juventus paying an extra 10 million euros in the deal.
Meunier has been a dependable right back for years at PSG. He contributed to three league titles with four trophies in league tournaments. He was also vital to the third-place finish for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the third-place game against England. PSG decided to not renew his contract as he joins Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva as veterans leaving the club on expired contracts. He can defend well on top of being a playmaker at the back line or right midfield. In articles I have written for The Rich Report, I have discussed Dortmund’s need for a playmaker, especially at the back line and midfield.
Meunier is exactly what Dortmund needed. He knows how to play a fast brand of football as he does so for Belgium and he is flexible at positioning. With winger Achraf Hakimi’s two-year loan from Real Madrid set to expire, Dortmund also needed a replacement. Meunier will provide playmaking with a veteran defensive presence on the back line.
Dortmund struck gold with this free transfer addition. If Dortmund can get another playmaker at the midfield, they should be able to at least be competitive with Bayern Munich.
Arthur and Pjanic swap
With the swap, Arthur has signed with Juventus through 2025 and Pjanic through 2024. Also, since both teams are still in the Champions League, both teams cannot officially complete the swap until tournament play in August concludes. With the Both FC Barcelona and Juventus are looking to get over the hump in the UCL. Juventus has not won the competition since 1996 and Barcelona hasn’t won since 2015 with they had Neymar, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Since those titles, it has been disappointment after disappointment.
For Juventus, this move makes a lot of sense. Arthur is seven years younger than Pjanic and they needed to breathe life in a midfield that has become older and sometimes stagnant. Pjanic and the midfield were thoroughly dominated by Ajax last year and have looked stale at times against more pacey teams in Italy such as Napoli. Adding a younger midfielder allows for growth and increased vigor.
However, I do not understand this move for Barcelona. Pjanic is 30 years-old and not as great as he used to be. Sure, he brings veteran leadership and experience but is he really a much better option than Arthur? Barcelona has needed to rebuild with youth with veteran departures so why bring in a veteran? If Barcelona wanted a veteran replacement, they should have pursued Thiago Alcantara, who is leaving Bayern Munich. He is a better option and would have been the perfect addition with his creativity.