Brazil starlet Arthur Melo has confirmed that his proposed move to Barcelona is "on track" but Gremio director of football Andre Zanotta suggested that a deal won't be completed before next week.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been tipped to move to the Nou Camp since the player was photographed in a Blaugrana shirt alongside Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after the club chief travelled to South America to watch him in action in the two-legged Copa Libertadores final between his side and Lanus.
That speculation swelled earlier this week after Mundo Deportivo broke that Fernandez had made a new trip to Brazil to step the negotiations with Gremio.
Sport later reported that Fernandez met with Gremio officials on Monday [19 February] evening and managed to reach an agreement in principle over a deal which could rise to €40m (£35.4m, $49.3m) with add-ons.
The Spanish publication said that Arthur has a €50m release clause in his contract at Gremio but Barcelona would pay €30m plus €10m extra in variables after agreeing to keep the midfielder at his parent club until the January transfer window of 2019.
Sport were suggesting that the deal could be official as soon as this week but on Wednesday [21 February] evening (21 February) they reported that a last minute interest from Manchester United and AS Monaco would delay the final agreement by at least a few days.
Arthur and the Gremio director of football have now provided a positive update for Barcelona fans after admitting that, although the agreement has not been finalised, negotiations remain on track.
"I haven't signed anything yet but the negotiations are going on track," Arthur said as quoted by Sport.
Meanwhile, club chief Zanotta suggested that next week could be decisive for both clubs to complete the move.
"We had a meeting on Monday in Porto Alegre. The matter is on course. We are ready for there to be a definitive agreement but we think that until next week there won't be a positive outcome," Zanotta said according to Sport.
Meanwhile Gremio president Romildo Bozan Jr reiterated that, whatever happens, Arthur won't move to Barcelona before the January transfer window of 2019.
"The negotiations are not defined yet, they have advanced but there are points that have to be consolidated, which go beyond the payments in instalments. What I can say is that, if the deal is done or not, Arthur will stay with us this season," Bolzan stated as quoted by Sport.