Barca's Arthur hoping to solve Brazil's problem with the No. 8 role
Barca midfielder aiming to solve Selecao's problem with the No. 8 role
In recent times, Brazil have dispelled the dated notion that their deficiencies are defensive in nature.
They have two world-class goalkeepers in Alisson and Ederson, produce top-class defenders like Marquinhos and Thiago Silva and have defensive midfielders who play for Europe's biggest clubs in Fabinho and Casemiro.
Instead, the Selecao's World Cup drought - they last lifted the coveted trophy in 2002 - has often been attributed to their recent inability to produce top-tier No. 8s in the mould of Socrates or Rai.
In his search for a box-to-box player who can dovetail effortlessly between the holding midfielder and a more advanced playmaker, Tite hopes he has found his answer in the 23-year-old Arthur.
The Barcelona midfielder, who has been likened by no less than Lionel Messi to Xavi Hernandez, grew up inspired by the Spain and Barca legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Just 16 caps into his international career, expectations of him when he dons the green and yellow are no less daunting.
When The New Paper asked Arthur if he can be Brazil's solution in the problematic No. 8 position, he said it was his goal to fill that role.
Speaking at a press conference at the JW Marriott Hotel ahead of Brazil's friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria at the National Stadium this week, he said: "I'm really happy about the confidence of people in me.
"I'm not sure if I will be the No. 8, but I am working towards that, trying to develop my football to play that position.
"I know it won't be easy, but I will do my best to join the history of the national team."
Arthur also addressed criticism in the Spanish media about Brazil's Singapore sojourn.
Catalan-based daily Sport's website ran a story with the headline: "Arthur, victim of a senseless 22,000km round trip".
He said: "I understand the feelings of the clubs, but for the players... to play for the national team is a source of pride.
"Every time I have the chance to serve my country, I will choose that (option)."
Looking ahead to tomorrow's clash with African Nations Cup runners-up Senegal, Arthur said he is well aware of star player Sadio Mane's ability, after the forward's Liverpool team memorably dumped Arthur's Barca out of the Champions League last season.
Said the 23-year-old: "I had the chance to play against him twice and he has great quality and is really fast.
"But I also know the quality of our defence. In my opinion, we have two of the best (central) defenders in the world and we have good fullbacks."
One of those fullbacks is uncapped Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi.
Like Arthur, he is seen as the future of the national team. With Marcelo out of favour and Filipe Luis now 34, he is seen as the Selecao's possible long-term left-back.
Luis himself thinks so, having told the 21-year-old that he will be one of the three best left-backs in the world.
Said Lodi: "You can be sure I'm looking ahead at the World Cup (in 2022) but it has to be a step-by-step process...
"When I arrived at Atletico (in June), I had a meeting with (Diego) Simeone and he told me what I had to improve on, and it was almost all on the defensive side of my game...
"After a few months, I had another meeting and he told me I was developing my defensive play in the right way."