After failing to agree a deal for their number one target, Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal have changed their priorities for their keeping department and have turned back to Neto, who was keen to join in January.
Arsenal wanted to sign Aaron Ramsdale, a player they saw as a Bernd Leno back-up for this season and number one from next summer. His homegrown status was important, too, although the signing of Ben White has, reportedly, made that less of a priority.
The Athletic now report that “while Ramsdale was envisaged as a future No 1, their intention now is to secure a player regarded solely as a back-up, at a considerably lower fee — or even potentially on loan.”
Back in January, Barca boss Ronald Koeman confirmed that Neto had indeed handed in a transfer request amid strong links with Arsenal. “Young people are one thing and Neto is another,” Koeman said. “His representative has requested an exit and we have said no. We want to have the team well covered in all positions.”
Neto’s agent, you see, is Edu’s chum, Kia Joorabchian, who has already helped bring David Luiz, Cedric and Willian to the club.
That makes things interesting for a number of reasons.
First up, Joorabchian’s brief history with Arsenal tells us we would likely get an sub-par player for over-par wages.
Next, Neto’s demand in January to be made number one is curious. If that’s what he wants AND he handed in a transfer request, he must have felt fairly confident he would get it at Arsenal.
Arsenal sold Emi Martinez, telling him Bernd Leno was number one and that’s just the way it is. They weren’t even prepared to give Martinez cup games, something the Argentine hasn’t shut up about since.
Ronald Koeman was adamant in January that Neto wasn’t going anywhere but much has changed between then and now.
Neto made just 12 appearances for Barcelona last season, conceding eight goals and keeping six cleansheets.
He has not played a game in La Liga since he started against Alaves in a 1-1 draw on 31 October.