Arsenal have reportedly identified Neto as a target for the summer and have begun talks with the Valencia goalkeeper over the prospect of a summer move.
Despite reports of a limited budget set to be handed to Unai Emery, the Arsenal manager needs to address various positions ahead of next season. One of them is the goalkeeping spot, with Petr Cech set to hang his gloves after the Europa League final. Arsenal have therefore, identified Valencia stopper Neto to replace the Czech Republic star, according to Spanish publication Plaza Deportivo.
The report states that Arsenal have begun talks with the player over a summer move while there is no report of an official approach to Valencia for the player, who has an €80 million release clause embedded in his contract. Plaza Deportivo have added that Neto is not happy with the initial terms of the offer.
Norberto Murara Neto, popularly known as Neto, has been a part of Valencia for two seasons now after spending more than 6 years in Italy, with Fiorentina and subsequently, Juventus. At Valencia though, Neto is a regular and the first-choice under Marcelino.
His performances this season have been near exemplary, with Valencia boasting the second least goals conceded (35) in La Liga, along with Getafe, with only Atletico Madrid letting in fewer goals in the 2018-19 league campaign. Neto has conceded 34 in as many La Liga starts, with 10 clean sheets to his name.
The 29-year-old is reportedly content with his status and football at Valencia, with the Spanish club set for Champions League football in the 2019-20 season. But, Arsenal are looking to bring the Brazilian in to replace Petr Cech, who is set to call time on his glittering career this summer.
Bernd Leno has managed to somewhat dethrone Cech as the first-choice. But, Emery is not entirely convinced and wants to bring in Neto to shore up the goalkeeping department, with Arsenal having conceded 51 goals in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign. But, Neto’s pursuit is likely to become increasingly difficult.
Valencia are unlikely to be in the mood to negotiate any fee lower than the release clause, with Neto contracted to the club till 2021 and performing well. And Arsenal can bid their chances of convincing Neto to leave Valencia adieu if they fail to qualify for the Champions League football, for which they will have to beat Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final.
One positive thing is that Valencia will need to sell player(s) in order to balance the books in the near future, which means Arsenal could yet get Neto with their constricted transfer budget. But, all hopes will probably hinge upon their ability to win the UEFA Europa League.
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