Arsenal are reportedly preparing an approach to bring long-term goalkeeper target Neto to Emirates Stadium after taking the lead over two rivals in the race to sign the Brazilian.
The Gunners are seeking a new goalkeeper to challenge and cover for undisputed No 1 Aaron Ramsdale. He moved to Emirates last summer in a big-money deal from Sheffield United – and soon ousted Bernd Leno for the gloves.
As such, the 2021/22 season was one of frustration for nine-times capped Germany man Leno. He managed just eight appearances in all competitions, having been unchallenged as top dog for the previous three campaigns.
Now Leno is far from happy and seems destined to quit. His agent has taken a swipe at Mikel Arteta as the goalkeeper prepares for a move across London to Fulham.
And his departure will see Arsenal finally make a move to bring Brazilian custodian Neto to Emirates Stadium. He has been on Arteta’s shopping list throughout his time in charge at Arsenal – and finally a deal appears on.
As per Sport, Gunners technical director Edu is favourite to land Neto if two hurdles can be overcome.
Firstly, Arsenal need to agree a transfer fee for his services. That is not expected to be difficult, given he’s one of nine players Barcelona are looking to move on this summer.
Fee unlikely to trouble Arsenal
With a contract expiring in 2023, Barca are apparently only seeking around £6.4m (€7.5m) for his services.
That asking price has, as per Sport, alerted two other suitors in the shape of Valencia and Villarreal.
However, neither of the of LaLiga pair can match Neto’s salary demands – which is where Arsenal come in.
They claim Arsenal are willing to pay him handsomely, though suggest Neto will need to take a salary cut for the move to go through.
The 32-year-old has been at Barcelona since summer 2019, but only managed 21 appearances in his three seasons there.
Neto a perfect addition for Arsenal
Given his long-serving role as a No 2 to Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Neto looks to be the perfect candidate to act as deputy for Ramsdale.
Arteta has been chasing him throughout his tenure and a move to Arsenal has long been rumoured.
Now it finally looks likely to happen.
Having played for Fiorentina, Valencia and Juventus during his career, Neto is a more than capable stopper. He’s a keeper, who at 32, still should have many years left in him too.
Acting as a deputy for Ramsdale won’t phase him. Furthermore, he will arrive with ambitions of taking the gloves from it; the friendly competition that all top clubs need throughout their squad.
Indeed, Sport suggests Neto has even approached Arsenal over the potential swoop.
And his presence will give Ramsdale a fresh reminder to always stay on his toes and perform to his best. Having made 37 appearances during 2021/22, Ramsdale will need another solid campaign to cement his place in the England squad for the World Cup.