Premier League • England

Arteta ‘convinces’ Arsenal board to sign €65m Tottenham, Newcastle target; Edu has ‘firm intention’ to get deal done in next 44 days

Edu is the Arsenal sporting director

Arsenal will go all out to sign Ruben Neves in January after reports in Spain claimed Mikel Arteta has persuaded the Gunners board to sanction the capture of the Al-Hilal midfielder.

The Portugal star established himself as one of the best midfielders outside a top-six side during his stay with Wolves. Making 253 appearances for the Old Gold, Neves scored 30 times having earned a reputation for the scorer of some absolute worldies during his six seasons at Molineux.

Courted by the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona during his time in the Premier League, it came as something of a shock when Neves was eventually lured away from Wolves by Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, who paid €55m (£47m) for his services.

However, just 12 games and five months into a three-year deal in the Middle East, the Saudi dream is quickly turning into a nightmare for Neves.

To that end, we exclusively revealed earlier this week how Neves was already starting to regret his move there and his return to mainland Europe could spark a series of big-name stars already growing tired with the Saudi Arabia dream.

Despite earning wages of £300,000 a week, we understand that Neves has failed to settle in Riyadh and is imploring his agent to secure his return to England as quickly as possible.

As a result, Tottenham, Newcastle and Arsenal were all linked with potential moves for the player, while Manchester City have also been touted as an option as they look to move Kalvin Phillips on.

Of the quartet, it is perhaps Newcastle who hold the advantage given the fact that Al-Hilal are owned by PIF, the same owners at St James’ Park.

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Edu to go all out to sign Ruben Neves for Arsenal

However, with a ruling being mulled over that could prevent clubs from loaning players from within linked clubs, Newcastle could yet be forced out of the race if a decision goes against them and with Al-Hilal prefering instead to make a cash sale.

To that end, Spanish daily Sport claims Arteta has made the signing of Neves his ‘new wish’ in January. They also state the Gunners have a ‘firm intention’ to get a deal done with the Arsenal coach ‘convincing’ the club’s board to finance a move to bring Neves back to the Premier League.

As a result, Edu will reportedly get started straight away on an operation to sign Neves and will look to strike an agreement as soon as the January window opens. The winter window opens for official business in just 44 days time.

It’s claimed both Edu and Arteta see Neves as a perfect upgrade for Thomas Partey, who has struggled with form and fitness this season. And growing reports in Italy state the Gunners could look to move the Ghanaian on in January and inspite of recent denials to the contrary.

As for Al-Hilal, we understand they are reluctant to sell Neves so soon after his move to the SPL went through.

However, they are unlikely to stand in the way of an unhappy player, though will demand around €65m (£57m) for the 26-year-old – a fee that not only secures them a profit of around €10m, but also one which reportedly won’t scare Arsenal off.

That said, Arsenal could reportedly try to strike a deal whereby they sign Neves on an initial loan with an obligation to make the move permanent in the summer.

Neves has appeared 17 times for the Saudi Pro-League side so far and has two goals and one assist for the club.

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