Arsenal ‘in talks’ over Xhaka replacement as Arteta targets midfield class

Ruben Neves_.Portugal.2021.TEAMtalk1

A report in Portugal claims Arsenal have already opened talks over a move for Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves in the summer transfer window.

The West Midlanders are now under new management, with Bruno Lage replacing Nuno Espirito Santo at the helm. And it seems as though players who shone during the new Tottenham manager’s reign may now be vulnerable to an exit. Neves certainly falls into that category as he has been a workhorse of the team for four years.

The Portugal international moved to Molineux in the summer of 2017, with Wolves paying Porto in the region of £16m. And the Black Country outfit have got their money’s worth out of the talented schemer.

He has made 176 appearances in all competitions across four seasons, three of them in the Premier League. The Mozelos-born star has started 100 top-flight games during the past three campaigns and bagged 11 goals.

But finding the net is a bonus as Neves is a defensive midfielder with a great eye for a pass. They are attributes admired by Gunners chief Mikel Arteta who is looking for a replacement for Granit Xhaka.

The Switzerland star looks set to join Jose Mourinho at Roma and the north Londoners want Neves to step into his boots. But Manchester United are also thought to hold an interest in the 24-year-old.

However, Portuguese outlet Record states that it is the Emirates club that has struck first, with dialogue ongoing. And Sky Sport Italia transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio suggested earlier this week that the Portuguese is Arsenal’s first choice.

Arsenal keeping options open over Neves

Arteta knows that he needs to bring in new faces. Last season was a disaster for a club of Arsenal’s standing, with no European football in 2021-2022 to show for their efforts.

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While he might not clear the decks completely, the Spaniard will try to revamp his midfield. Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga is one player they have been linked with for some time.

And it appears as though the 21-year-old is close to completing his move to the capital. But rumours about Neves are still doing the rounds and it may be that Arsenal secure both players in the off-season.

Granit Xhaka, Arsenal midfielder linked with Roma, TEAMtalk

He will not come cheap and Lage’s reluctance to sell means any interested suitor will need to stump up at least £40million. It remains to be seen if they will go that high but, even at that price, Neves would be a bargain.

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