Arsenal are heavily pursuing a transfer for Wolves winger Pedro Neto, per David Ornstein. The two clubs have been in negotiations for over a month, which means that Neto is the “secret” winger target we’ve been hearing rumors about but didn’t know who it was.
The latest reporting is that the Gunners have offered £35M and that Wolves want £50M. My gut tells me that the negotiations going public like this means a deal is close. One club is trying to get a little bit more out of the other. But there is also a chance that they’ve reached a bit of an impasse and one club has taken to the media to pressure the other a bit more. I’m confident that it doesn’t mean things are off — we usually don’t see the “Arsenal were in for [player]” until much later.
In March, Neto signed a contract extension that will keep him at Molineux through 2027. So it’s not as if Wolves have to sell him or risk losing him. That new deal will definitely make it more difficult to pry him away from Bruno Lage.
Would Pedro Neto be a good addition for Arsenal? I think so. The most important part is that he’s a quality, young player that would be able to give Bukayo Saka enough rest without the squad losing too much quality. Obviously, the Gunners aren’t going to get a player at Saka’s level for £35M. But Neto is really talented and was breaking out before a serious knee injury sidelined him for nearly a year.
Looking at the data, Neto seems a similar player to Bukayo Saka. Indeed fbref’s tool pegs Saka as one of the 10 most similar players. He is an effective progressive dribbler, consistently beats his man, gets touches in the box, and takes shots. That’s a lot of good boxes to tick, especially when you remember that Wolves under both Nuno Espirito Santo and now Bruno Lage aren’t exactly a swashbuckling, attacking side.
Pdero Neto stats from the last two years pic.twitter.com/eeWpaml2zg— Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) August 12, 2022
Fitness is my biggest concern for Neto. He missed 31 matches with that kneecap injury that was supposed to keep him out 6 months but wound up keeping him out for 10. He’s been back in action since February 2022, but has he completely rediscovered his pre-injury form? That’s a question for Mikel Arteta, Edu, and the Arsenal medical team. I’m inclined to trust their judgment.
Buying Neto would turn a strong transfer window into an extraordinary one for Arsenal. Everybody recognizes the need for a player to spell Bukayo Saka, and Pedro Neto would be that guy. And then if Arsenal were somehow able to add a new midfielder to the transfer incomings, it could wind up the best window in club history.