Ruben Neves’ price tag shows the magnitude of Arsenal’s task in the summer transfer window
Arsenal will be looking for several new players in the transfer market this summer and Wolves manager Bruno Lage’s comments on Ruben Neves’ future show the magnitude of their task
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Arsenal’s two wins last week put them in a strong position First Leaguebut they could still find themselves on the backfoot in another sense this summer.
After a run of poor form, the Gunners batted Chelsea and Manchester United to control the race for fourth place in the Premier League. There are still five games to play – one of them against rivals Tottenham – They are fourth, two points clear of Spurs, and are favorites to end their five-year absence from the Champions League.
But while the 2021/22 season could end successfully on the pitch for Mikel Arteta’s side, it might not last. That’s because the Gunners are once again on the verge of a summer makeover. It won’t be an easy task and it means a lot for sporting director Edu and his team.
most obvious, arsenal are in dire need of strikers as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left and both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah have doubts as they near the end of their contracts. There are other urgent needs, however, with reports suggesting Arsenal could be looking to sign as many as possible seven players this summer.
Despite signing Albert Sambi Lokonga last summer and Thomas Partey the year before, Arsenal will be looking for a central midfielder. Mohamed Elneny’s current contract expires on July 1 and whether the Egyptian stays or not, there is a feeling that another high-profile player is needed in midfield.
The north London club has frequent been linked to wolves Midfielder Ruben Neves. The appeal is obvious: the Portuguese international has been a consistent player in the Premier League for the past four seasons and is in a good age at 25. However, he is under contract and Wolves coach until June 2024 Bruno Lage made it clear on Thursday that he would only go for a huge transfer fee.
“These days we have to be prepared for everything, especially for a club like Wolves,” said Lage. “I have said before that the value of players like Ruben is £100m or more. We must be clear about everything. We must not miss a great opportunity.”
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Managers will never admit they want to sell or downplay the level of transfer value of their players, but Neves’ alleged price still underscores the difficulty of Arsenal’s task this summer. The Gunners will shop in a market that is still recovering from the problems caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Even more problematic is the fact that all selling clubs know their needs – and know they have the means to pay hefty fees after spending £150m on six players last summer.
Arteta has been open about the club’s intentions. “The Champions League and the Europa League both require a much larger squad because the number of games is much larger,” he said last week. “If we can afford it financially and we don’t have to do the squad turnaround that we needed to have, I want 22 outfield players and three goalies. A lot of things have to be set up and that takes time, so I expect a busy summer.”
Whatever happens, turnover will be big with several fringe players on loan who could be in for permanent deals. Impressing with Marseille, William Saliba could be the only player Arteta is sure he wants to keep, with Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Lucas Torreira (Fiorentina), Ainsley Maitland-Niles ( Roma), Hector Bellerin (Real Betis), Pablo Mari (Udinese), Reiss Nelson (Feyenoord) and Alex Runarsson (Leuven) may all be considered expendables.
Clearing out the clutter while attracting high-quality new players is tough at the best of times. Neves’ price tag is a sign that this summer may be even tougher than usual for Arsenal.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/ruben-neves-arsenal-transfer-window-26826461 Ruben Neves' price tag shows the magnitude of Arsenal's task in the summer transfer window