Arsenal target Barcelona back-up goalkeeper Neto as the ideal second-choice to Bernd Leno.
According to a report by Daily Express, Arsenal have identified Brazilian Neto Murara as worthy deputy to Bernd Leno and will be in the market to purchase him from Barcelona this summer.
Neto moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2019, as part of an unofficial exchange between Valencia which saw Jasper Cillessen move the other way. The Brazilian has played only four games for the Catalan giants since his arrival, once in four different competitions including in the Spanish Supercup against Atletico Madrid.
He was also in the lineup when Barça travelled to Milan to play against Inter Milan in the last game of the UEFA Champions League group stage. Neto made 7 crucial saves against the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez to deny Inter the knockout berth, which had already been secured by the Blaugrana.
During his time at Valencia, Neto kept 20 clean sheets in two seasons. He was among the best in the league during the 2017/18 season, coming in clutch when Los Che were truly struggling in the first half of that campaign.
At this moment, the 30-year-old is linked with a move away from Camp Nou with several clubs looking to secure his signature, including AC Milan, Chelsea, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and the aforementioned Arsenal.
With so many clubs in the market to sign the Barcelona shot-stopper, this could be their chance to demand more than what Arsenal are willing to pay.
Currently, the Gunners have Emiliano Martinez on their payroll as the second-choice goalkeeper. The South American, who has been at the club since 2010, has made 11 first-team appearances this term.
However, he has hinted that he will not be averse to an exit should regular first-team action be not forthcoming at the Emirates Stadium. Thus, Neto would be a viable option for Arsenal. Bringing him in will mean a better backup in case of an injury to Leno.
Arsenal, however, will have to battle Chelsea, who are probably the most desperate for a new goalkeeper right now. Kepa Arrizabalaga has underperformed massively over the course of the season. So much so that he was replaced with Willy Caballero by manager Frank Lampard.
Neto could serve as a worthy short-term replacement for Kepa while the Blues fish for a long-term custodian. Moreover, the ex-Juve man could also play second-fiddle for the Spaniard specially considering Caballero turns 39 in September.
Mikel Arteta, in an interview, stated that he’s only willing to bring in players who will not need to be swayed about a move to the Emirates, saying:
“Everybody wants to come here and we have a really clear idea of what we are. It doesn’t need much convincing and if they do, for me it’s not a good starting point. If I have to convince a player to stay or to join us. To Arsenal? It holds me back a little bit.”
Arsenal may need to drop the idea of signing Neto this summer, giving priority to areas of more grave concern like the midfield and central defence, especially given their limited funds.