According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are unlikely to allow Neto to move to Arsenal. The goalkeeper has been linked with a shock transfer to Emirates this January, following unhappiness over his lack of game-time in Catalonia. As a result, Neto had handed in a loan request, which has now been declined by Barcelona. The club are reportedly open only to a permanent transfer as they aim to recoup the €26 million they had spent a few seasons ago.
Do Arsenal Need A New Goalkeeper?
Arsenal’s decision to continue with Bernd Leno as their first-choice goalkeeper, thus effectively allowing Emiliano Martinez to leave the club in the summer, was a gutsy one. However, it was one that needed to be made as the Argentine was desperate to secure regular first-team football.
Nonetheless, Martinez’s subsequent departure to Aston Villa has predictably weakened Arsenal’s goalkeeping unit. Runar Alex Runarsson was notably brought in from Dijon to replace the 28-year-old, but the move is yet to pay off.
The Iceland international initially had a solid start to his career at Emirates. But, a couple of poor performances in the UEFA Europa League and a miserable display against Manchester City in the League Cup raises doubts over his credibility at the highest level of football.
In fact, Arteta, it seems, has opted for Leno as his primary goalkeeper for FA Cup and it won’t be surprising to see the German getting the nod ahead of Runarsson in the knockout stages of the Europa League. Hence, Arsenal could certainly use the services of a more proven and able competitor for Leno in this January transfer window.
Was Neto The Ideal Option?
Neto’s potential loan signing this month could have served as an ideal short term fix for Arsenal’s goalkeeping woes this season. The Barcelona star already bags a lot of experience at the highest level of football, having made over 150 combined appearances in European top-flight football. He has also been quite successful, notably sealing the Serie A title twice during his time at Juventus.
Neto could have thus brought the winning mentality that could have been useful in an otherwise young Arsenal team who are looking to make an impression by either defending their FA Cup title or clinching the Europa League this season. But more importantly, the Brazilian could have offered some competition for Leno in goal, ultimately allowing Arteta to rest the German goalkeeper for the cup matches.
At the same time, however, Arsenal’s missed pursuit of Neto could pave the way for them to promote some of the younger players in the academy and give Runarsson a run for his money during the second half of the campaign.
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