Barcelona put Arsenal target on transfer list to accommodate World Cup dream

Neto, Gerard Pique. Barcelona TEAMtalk

Arsenal have been boosted in their pursuit of goalkeeper Neto after FC Barcelona put him on the transfer list, according to reports.

Neto has been on Arsenal’s radar for several transfer windows, including in January. After 2020 signing Alex Runarsson failed to impress, the Gunners wanted a new deputy for Bernd Leno. They signed Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton, but he has since joined Real Sociedad on a permanent basis.

With Runarsson seemingly set for a departure, a new backup keeper will be needed. Neto is strongly under consideration again, as Mikel Arteta believes he would fit in with their style of building from the back.

In January, Barcelona refused to let him go because head coach Ronald Koeman still viewed him as important. Now, though, the situation has changed.

According to Diario Sport, Barcelona want to sell Neto this summer and have put him on the market. After two years as understudy to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, all parties think it is now time to move on.

Neto will not necessarily be the first choice where he lands, but could still seek a fresh challenge. For example, Leno would likely remain Arsenal’s number one ahead of him, but there would be opportunities for gametime.

Between them, Runarsson and Ryan made nine appearances last season, but Neto could have greater responsibility.

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The Brazil international will come with a transfer fee, as Barcelona believe they can get a decent price for him. What is most important for them, though, is to reduce the wage bill.

Neto looks likely to be sacrificed, therefore, and he is in agreement. With more gametime elsewhere, he believes he can make Brazil’s squad for the 2022 World Cup, even if that would be as third choice behind Alisson and Ederson.

Still only 31, he has many years ahead of him as a goalkeeper. But it seems he will not be spending any more of them at Camp Nou.

Arsenal get midfielder second chance

The goalkeeper position is one of several positions Arsenal are looking to strengthen in order to recover from their uncharacteristic absence from European football.

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Midfield is another priority, with many of their current options expected to leave. For example, Granit Xhaka remains a top target for Jose Mourinho at Roma.

The former Tottenham boss wanted a deal done before Euro 2020, but his new club were unable to in time. Switzerland international Xhaka went on to excel at the Euros, perhaps forcing Arsenal to rethink their plans.

The 28-year-old has struggled for consistency during his time in north London. Therefore, they have been willing to sell for the right price. However, if he can replicate what he did on the European stage, he could still be useful for them.

If anything, his exploits over the summer will have made them stick to their asking price, which is higher than what Roma have offered so far. It has since been speculated that the Italian side may offer a player in return to meet the valuation.

One man has regularly been mentioned as a makeweight and has come into the equation again as a new bid is expected…

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