Mikel Arteta’s £36m midfield target may have sabotaged his dream move with naive Arsenal comment – Chris Davison

The January window may have passed and focus is well and truly on Arsenal’s remaining 15 league ‘cup finals’. However, that doesn’t mean transfer speculation stops there.

Following several departures last month, the Gunners are expected to pick up where they left off in the summer of 2021 and continue strengthening Mikel Arteta’s squad.

Whether another £150 million-plus will be spent is another matter, but it’s clear that 2-3 high-calibre players will need to be added, especially in the striker position.

Another area of concern is central midfield, and football.london understands that Roma are expected to make a fresh attempt to sign Granit Xhaka in the summer.

In addition to Xhaka’s uncertain future, Mohamed Elneny’s current deal at the Emirates expires in just over four months time. Meanwhile, Thomas Partey has struggled with injuries and Albert Sambi Lokonga is still adjusting to the Premier League after arriving from Anderlecht.

Arsenal signing a top-quality midfield partner for Partey is the most likely scenario, and Ruben Neves, who is valued at £36 million by Transfermarkt, was a player of interest last summer according to The Athletic.

Premier League experienced, a leader on the pitch, technically gifted and consistently reliable for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Neves would certainly be an upgrade on Xhaka.

The question is, would he fit into what Mikel Arteta is trying to build in north London? If the Portuguese international’s latest comments are anything to go by, then perhaps not.

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Following Arsenal’s victory over Wolves on Thursday evening, Neves took a dig at the Gunners and revealed his displeasure with the side’s post-match celebrations.

“We saw the way they celebrated the win and that shows the level we are,” said Neves.

“I didn’t see Arsenal celebrating like this in the past 10 years – it was like they won the league.”

Since taking charge in 2019, Arteta has pushed for his players to show grit, passion, fight and determination in every single match. It’s taken some time, but this season is starting to bring out those exact characteristics.

As the youngest team in the Premier League continue to push for a UEFA Champions League spot after winning away from home with ten men, they can celebrate however they want for all I care.

It is that sense of togetherness and special squad harmony that will go a long way for this football club, and if Neves doesn’t like it, then it must be seriously considered if he would end up fitting in at all.

Arteta wants individuals who will fight for the cause and give it their absolute all for as long as they play under him, that’s exactly what he will be looking for as he draws up plans to secure his next signing.

Being a talented footballer is one thing, but believing in the project is the true secret to succeeding at Arsenal Football Club.

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