Barcelona end Arsenal pursuit of keeper who asked for transfer

Date published: Sunday 17th January 2021 2:43 - Neil Foster

Neto Barcelona

Barcelona have closed the door on Arsenal’s hopes of a loan deal for back-up  goalkeeper Neto as he is “important” to the Spanish giants.

The Gunners have held an interest in the 31-year-old since last summer. Talks between the clubs were said to have begun in June 2020. But he remained at the Nou Camp and has played six La Liga games in 2020-2021.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the Catalans’ number one shot-stopper, with Neto usually on the bench.

Capped once by Brazil, the former Valencia ace is eyeing more game time. It seems as though he is keen to move to the Emirates to provide competition for Bernd Leno.

However, Barca boss Ronald Koeman insists he will be going nowhere as they need him on the bench.

“If we talk about players, we talk about youngsters,” said the Dutchman. “I’ve said several times for some players it could be good for them to have more minutes to improve as players.

“Neto is a different case, it’s true his agent asked the club to move on and we said no because he’s important for us and we want to have all positions covered.”

Neto began his professional career with Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense. He then spent four years with Italian outfit Fiorentina, playing 72 times in Serie A.

The South American signed a four-year deal with Valencia in July 2017 and enjoyed 80 outings in all competitions. It was somewhat of a surprise that he opted for Barcelona in 2019, with little chance of seeing regular action.

The same may be the case with Arsenal if he failed to replace Leno.

Keeper search continues

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Arsenal chief Mikel Arteta suggested this week that he is looking for a new keeper this month. However, the Spaniard played his cards close to his chest when pressed on the issue.

“There is nothing there yet,” he said. “We are assessing the situation with the three positions on the goalkeeping area and we will find a different solution, probably in this window.”

Summer signing Alex Runarsson has failed to impress since his arrival from Dijon. There has been speculation that the north Londoners could send him out on loan.

That would leave them in need of another custodian but it seems as though Neto will not be arriving. Things could change, however, with many clubs using brinkmanship to secure better deals towards the end of the window.


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