Arsenal and Everton are reportedly vying for the signing of Barcelona goalkeeper Neto, who is keen on leaving Camp Nou this summer.
According to a report from Catalan publication SPORT, Barcelona’s second-choice goalkeeper Neto has his heart set on an exit in the ongoing transfer window, and the Brazilian is attracting interest from Premier League clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Neto has been with Barcelona since the summer of 2019, when he signed from fellow La Liga outfit Valencia to replace Jasper Cillessen, who in turn had moved to Mestalla. However, throughout his stint in Catalonia, the ex-Juventus shot-stopper has had to play second-fiddle to the undisputed first-choice custodian, Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
As a result, Neto has featured just 17 times for Barcelona in two seasons, bagging seven clean sheets in the process. The Brazilian has been angling for a move away since the January transfer window but a sale was blocked by manager Ronald Koeman owing to the lack of cover.
However, the 32-year-old could finally get his chance to leave Camp Nou this summer, with Barcelona grooming academy graduate Inaki Pena to step into the first-team as ter Stegen’s understudy. This has alerted a number of clubs within Spain and England, with Villarreal taking an interest, along with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Arsenal’s interest in Neto is not something new. It was the Gunners who had tried to sign the Brazilian in January but the move fell through. Since then, they have been keeping tabs on his situation as Mikel Arteta considers bolstering his goalkeeping options. While Bernd Leno is the No. 1, his deputy, Runar Alex Runarsson has left a lot to be desired.
To that end, Arsenal have been in the market for a new shot-stopper, with Neto among the options being considered. However, they will now have to contend with competition from fellow Premier League club, Everton.
The interest from the Toffees does come out as a bit surprising considering that they have already added to their goalkeeping options this summer by signing Asmir Begovic on a free transfer. The 34-year-old is vastly experienced and can provide cover for regular first-choice stopper Jordan Pickford.
So, it would not really make a great deal of sense for Everton to invest in Neto as well, who as per the report, is expected to cost around €15 million, unless manager Rafael Benitez sees Begovic as his third goalkeeper.
Apart from the two English clubs, Villarreal are also keen on Neto and have enquired Barcelona about his availability. However, they are in no position to pay the transfer fee and would only consider a loan move. The Catalans are open to offloading the 32-year-old for a reasonable offer and it remains to be seen if either Arsenal or Everton make a play for his signing.