It’s set to be another busy summer window for Arsenal and the striker position will undoubtedly be the top priority, but central midfield won’t be far behind.
Mohamed Elneny sees his contract run out at the end of the season and AS Roma are expected to come back in for Granit Xhaka, meaning a new midfielder has become one of four areas Mikel Arteta wishes to bolster, football.london understands.
The Gunners have been linked with a host of names including Fabian Ruiz and Youri Tielemans, but Ruben Neves is reminding club chiefs why he should still be at the top of the list.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal were interested in signing the Portuguese international last summer before Albert Sambi Lokonga arrived and Xhaka put pen to paper on a new deal.
Despite Neves and his Wolves side struggling at times, he has again been a standout this season and continued to highlight his quality during an impressive display against Watford on Thursday.
The 24-year-old had more touches than any other player, finished with a pass success rate of 96% and prevented three Watford counter-attacks.
To top off his dominant performance, the midfielder scored Wolves’ fourth of the night by picking up the ball 20 yards from goal and noticing Ben Foster off his line before beating the keeper with a delightful chip which found the top corner.
It was typical Neves at his very best which left his manager full of praise and demanding more at full-time.
“What’s so important is Ruben knows what I want for him and what I wish for his career,” said Bruno Lage.
“Ruben should be the top of the top. The pressure for him is to come again on Sunday and make another performance. That’s the way he should be every time. That way he can put our team on a different level.
“To be on top and to be the top of the top, and I think Ruben can do that, not scoring goals like this every week, but the way he linked the game with the defenders, the way he found players between lines, that’s the Ruben I want every day.”
Lage’s comments almost hint that he believes Neves will become a top player at a top club while admitting he is on the same page as the player in terms of his future.
Five years after joining Wolves and approaching his mid-twenties, it would be no surprise if Neves wants to take the next step in his career by joining a club that is fighting for silverware and playing in Europe.
Arteta will want to ensure he continues to add the right profiles to his squad and the latest quotes coming out of the Molineux should be viewed as confirmation that Neves, who is valued at £36m by Transfermarkt, can add another level to Arsenal’s midfield if Edu makes his move.
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