Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Arsenal Express Shock Interest In Barcelona Goalkeeper: Is He A Viable Option For Mikel Arteta?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Express, Arsenal have expressed a shock interest in Neto. The Barcelona goalkeeper has been told that he is surplus to the requirements of manager Quique Setien next season. It has put Arsenal on alert, although the Gunners could face stiff competition from Chelsea in the pursuit of the experienced shot-stopper.

Neto’s spell at Barcelona 

Neto initially joined FC Barcelona last summer, in a €26 million move from Valencia. He was brought in as a replacement for Jasper Cillessen, who moved the other way around. And while the Dutchman has been able to make himself a regular fixture in goal this season, it hasn’t been the same story for Neto.

In fact, the Brazilian has primarily lived under the shadow of Marc Andre ter Stegen so far, having made only one league appearance. It does make sense, though, given the fact that the ex-Gladbach star is considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, if not the best.

Neto, therefore, has been restricted to only domestic cup matches. And his struggles at Barcelona clearly suggest that it is time for him to move on, even though his current contract expires in 2023.

Do Arsenal really need a goalkeeper?

Contrary to the expectations, Arsenal haven’t had any difficulties in the goalkeeping department this season. Their star player Bernd Leno has emerged as one of the best performing goalkeepers in the Premier League this term, notably making 103 saves – a tally only bettered by Martin Dubravka in the league so far.

Arsenal have expressed shock interest in Neto - He has had a miserable season at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 27: Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers reacts after a missed chance during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Espanyol Barcelona and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Power8 Stadium on February 27, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

At the same time, however, the Gunners lack the presence of a reliable back-up. Emiliano Martinez has endured a mixed time at Emirates, even in terms of form. And there is always the chance that the Argentine moves elsewhere to get a run of first-team football. At 27 years old, time is slowly running out for the Arsenal keeper to make a mark in top tier football.

Arsenal have expressed shock interest in Neto: Is he the right option for Mikel Arteta?

Neto is perhaps overqualified for someone who is likely to be considered as a second choice ‘keeper at Arsenal. Although there is no doubt that the Brazilian will push Leno to fight for his place in the starting lineup, the player himself is unlikely to fancy a move to Emirates.

Arsenal, as a club, have achieved very little success over the past few years. They have even failed to secure regular Champions League football, meaning a move to north London will only be a downgrade for the ex-Valencia star.

Moreover, it is fair to consider the exact amount of money Neto might cost. He was already brought in for an expensive fee and Barcelona will undoubtedly look to recoup most of it. Therefore, the 30-year-old is not really a viable target for Arsenal, for both sporting and financial reasons.

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