Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves this summer.
Mikel Arteta is thought to be keen on adding at least one new central midfielder to the Gunners’ squad with a few players being linked with moves away.
Matteo Guendouzi has joined Marseille on loan, with Granit Xhaka understood to be close to leaving north London on a permanent basis.
Neves has been touted as a possible option for Arteta, with Wolves reportedly open to allowing the Portugal international to leave Molineux this summer for the right price.
However, as you can read below, there are other clubs also interested in Neves, meaning Arsenal could face some stern competition for his signature.
With all this being said, football.london has rounded up everything being reported on Neves’ potential switch to the Emirates Stadium.
£35m transfer fee
Arsenal have been told how much it is going to cost to bring Ruben Neves to the club this summer.
The Portuguese midfielder has been strongly linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium in recent days as an alternative to Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are reportedly open to selling this summer too, opening the door for the Gunners ahead of a potential switch to north London.
Arsenal have also been told that it would take £35million to get a deal done, as per the Athletic.
Neves could be the perfect midfield partner for Thomas Partey next season and he may be a cheaper alternative to Bissouma and Sander Berge.
Should Arsenal pursue their interest in the Portugal international, the addition of him to the squad would almost certainly earn the seal of approval from Arteta’s former mentor, Pep Guardiola.
That is because the Manchester City boss has heaped praise on the former Porto man’s talents in the past, describing him as an ‘excellent player’.
“He’s an excellent player,” Guardiola said of Neves back in 2019. “It involves playing with two holding midfielders – not just one – but he’s an excellent player.”
Neves willing to join
Arsenal have received a major boost in their attempt to sign Neves.
According to the Daily Mail, Neves ‘is aware of the Gunners’ interest and has already indicated his willingness to join the north Londoners to teammates’.
Perfect Xhaka upgrade
And Neves could be the perfect replacement.
The midfielder had quite an interesting campaign in what was a difficult year at Wolves as the data collected by FBref shows his defensive actions puts him in a conversation with the likes of Xhaka, Bissouma and Chelsea star N’Golo Kante.
Neves won 66 tackles in the Premier League which is higher than Kante (57), Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara (43) and Xhaka (37), something that placed him second in the aforementioned comparison list spotted on Arsenal Reddit.
In fact, only Bissouma (74) won more tackles than the 24-year-old.
Furthermore, Neves made more interceptions than Xhaka (46-25) and most of the defensive actions are in his favour including pressing the opponent and blocks, which may indicate he is an upgrade.
Dream shirt number
Arsenal could offer Neves his dream shirt number this summer.
Neves has worn eight throughout his time with Wolves, since joining from FC Porto in 2017, and he can take that number at Arsenal after former loan midfielder Dani Ceballos left the club.
That would be a straightforward choice for Neves, who even plays as 18 for Portugal due to the fact Wolves teammate and veteran of the national team Joao Moutinho holds the number eight.
Neves has previously played as number six for FC Porto, but it appears unlikely he would return to that number, particularly given Gabriel Magalhaes currently wears it at Arsenal.
Man United ‘winning race’
According to talkSPORT, Manchester United are ‘winning the race’ against Arsenal to sign Neves for £35m this summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be a huge fan of the Portuguese midfielder and could look to bring him to Old Trafford over the coming weeks.
Alex Crook, a talkSPORT reporter, said: “Neves is another player Mikel Arteta has been monitoring very closely, but the trail seems to have gone cold there over a move to Arsenal.
“Wolves have their price tag, £35m, and they’re willing to do business to try and generate some funds for their new manager Bruno Lage.
“Liverpool were mentioned to me, but there’s definite interest from Manchester United.
“Ruben Neves is a Portuguese teammate of Bruno Fernandes and he is actively trying to push Neves towards Old Trafford. They do want another midfielder regardless of Paul Pogba’s future at the club.”
Neves prefers Man United move
According to Eurosport reporter Dean Jones, speaking on the Football Terrace podcast, Neves prefers a move to Manchester United rather than Arsenal.
As mentioned above, United are reportedly keen on the Portugal international and could look to bring him in this summer.
With the Old Trafford club able to boast Champions League football, as well as more financial power, this looks to be a more attractive proposition for Neves.
Jones, speaking about Houssem Aouar, who has also been linked with the Gunners, said: “I haven’t heard much about Aouar to be honest, but in terms of Neves, they’ve definitely tried that.
“Again, the player’s not sure if that’s the right move for him at this stage. With Man United also in view for him, he’d rather wait things out and see whether that will actually come to fruition.”
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