Arsenal have had a long-standing interest in Wolves’ Pedro Neto dating back to Arsene Wenger but the links have came back stronger than ever this past week or so. What makes this transfer even more realistic is the fact that the Gunners have successfully made space in their attack by sending Nicolas Pepe on loan to OGG Nice.
Neto, apparently valued at 5om pounds, ticks a lot of boxes regarding what Arsenal are looking to add to their attacking department. At 22 years old and 76 Premier League appearances under his belt, he’d fit Arsenal’s young core brilliantly.
🚨 Arsenal transfer priority is Pedro Neto. Discussions for over a month – #AFC to Jorge Mendes, Mendes to Wolves. #WWFC don’t plan to sell 22yo winger yet + Arsenal can’t spend excessively so deal not easy. But interest concrete & unanimous @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/ejcYbCVmfv
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 22, 2022
ROLE IN THE TEAM
Considering Arsenal pretty much have two key starters in Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on the wings, it would seem Neto would be willing to fight for his place in the team. That’s exactly what Arsenal need in this team, a much-needed competition for places among other things. Arteta himself said that no one is guaranteed a starting spot in the team and this move fits along those lines.
But even if Neto might be limited to substitute appearances at first, his chances will come. PL clubs are allowed 5 changes and there’s a Europa League to play in. Mix that with a congested schedule, a mid-season World Cup and Arsenal being cautious with Bukayo Saka who’s racked up 100 PL appearances since 2019. and there’s definitely space for him in this team.
Regarding Neto, he can easily cover both wing spots. A forward who’s competent in defence and a pest going forward. His ability to drive forward with the ball in full pelt is spectacular and the stats back it up. He produces just above 8 progressive carries (8.4) a game. That tops both Saka and Martinelli and puts him in Saint-Maximin territory (8.45). Combine that with great footwork and venom in his shots and you’ve got yourself a winger.
Pedro Neto is a tricky winger who often ends up as one of those players you can’t fully contain over the course of 90 minutes. Superb acceleration and ball control give headaches to almost anyone he plays against. Low centre of gravity and overall unpredictableness in his game just add to his exciting arsenal.
With 19 G/A in 76 appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers, his numbers could definitely use a boost but being in an attacking team will definitely help that.
Something worth noting is that Neto fractured his kneecap last April during a 1-0 win over Fulham. It was initially hoped he would return in October, but due to complications, his absence has ended up being ten months instead of the initially reported six. However, it seems Neto is back fully fit considering he started all three of Wolves’ Premier League games this season.
Despite Neto being comfortable on both sides, he’s a real leftie’s leftie. His weak foot isn’t bad but he almost exclusively uses his left. He looks for those left foot angles constantly but he blends it in well tho and while you limit him a lot by pushing him onto his right, be careful if you get too close. The small touches, the burst and control are hard to restrain even if you know what angles he’s looking for.
Yep, that’s Reece James he just left in the dust.
He’s got power in those legs and whilst he rarely uses his right, he can definitely snap a shot or a cross here and there if he’s in space.
He moves people with him and opens space for others with his ball carrying and that’s his main quality. Arsenal have vastly improved on that with Jesus’ arrival and Martinelli’s jump in form (Saka goes without saying) but can you ever have enough of players like that in and around the team? Imagine bringing either one of him or Martinelli for the last 30-ish minutes of games. The intensity and level of chaos they create for the opposition would be such a weapon to have when chasing or killing games off.
Considering Arteta’s track record of developing young wingers and Arsenal in need of that +1 in the attacking wide areas, this move makes too much sense for Arsenal. Neto won’t be a bonafide starter immediately and he’d definitely need to earn his spot tho.
However, this move is a jump in his career he possibly doesn’t want to miss out on. With Wolves already bringing in Guedes and super-agent Mendes having good relations with Arsenal, the move could come to fruition.
Arsenal have started the season off brilliantly and adding someone of Neto’s ilk to the squad could prove to be a difference maker if we’re looking at the direct competitors around the league, especially when the going gets tough and injuries/fatigue start occurring. I’d personally love it if the move goes through, if the price is right, of course.