Lots is set to happen in Arsenal’s midfield this summer. Dani Ceballos’ loan has expired whilst Granit Xhaka could be set for a £20million exit. That would leave Arsenal with just Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, both of whom are set to go to the African Cup of Nations in January next year.
That means Arsenal need reinforcements in this area. The Gunners have been heavily linked with Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, but it has always appeared that the club may favour other targets in midfield.
Now, Arsenal have begun the process of signing Wolves midfielder, Ruben Neves, according to The Times. Neves is a 24-year-old defensive midfielder that would appear to be a natural replacement for Granit Xhaka.
Neves was extremely highly rated but after an average season this term, his stock has fallen. Still, according to transfermarkt, his value is over £40million. Arsenal are unlikely to want to spend that much on the midfielder, but no price is listed in The Times report.
Neves has some impressive possession and defensive-based statistics, and on paper he could be a good partner for Arsenal’s Partey. A move for Neves would indicate that Mikel Arteta is happy to continue in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Arsenal fans appear to favour a move for Bissouma, so how does Neves compare to him?
Interestingly they match up quite similarly. Neves averages 7.5 ball recoveries per 90 vs. Bissouma’s 7.9. In terms of forward passes, Neves really shines ahead of Bissouma, averaging 18.9 to Bissouma’s 11.1. In terms of interceptions and tackles, they are also very closely matches (2.2 and 2.9 for Neves vs. Bissouma’s 1.9 an 3.1).
This looks like one to watch for Arsenal fans and with Neves set to feature for Portugal at the Euros, Arsenal might want to get this one tied up.