The name of Barca no.2 Neto has taken centre stage in the media over the last week.
This comes with the Brazilian having been named as a target for one of the Premier League’s giants.
The outfit in question? Arsenal.
Calls have mounted for the Gunners to replenish their options between the posts of late, on the back of a series of less than impressive displays on the part of summer addition Alex Runarsson.
The Icelandic international was brought to the Emirates to act as backup to Bernd Leno, on the back of Emi Martinez’s departure for Aston Villa.
To this point, however, when handed the chance to impress in cup competition, Runarsson has looked some way out of his depth, with one particular mistake during a League Cup meeting with Manchester City last month having seen the board at the Emirates urged to take immediate action.
😬 A goal Runar Alex Runarsson won’t want to see back anytime soon.pic.twitter.com/HBwasZjxeA
— SPORF (@Sporf) December 22, 2020
In step… Neto.
Experienced shot-stopper Neto has a wealth of experience on his side, having lined out for the likes of Fiorentina, Juventus and Valencia over the course of his career.
The 31-year-old, though, has inevitably been restricted to backup duties since making the move to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2019, with Marc-André ter Stegen having long stood as one of world football’s finest.
A move to north London would therefore appear to make sense for both Neto and Arsenal, with the Brazilian having a far better chance of actually competing for a starting role in Mikel Arteta’s squad than he does in Catalunya.
In turn, reports over recent days have pointed towards an upcoming swoop on the part of the Gunners:
According to Sky Sports, Barcelona goalkeeper Neto is one of a number of goalkeepers that Arsenal are interested in. #Arsenal are looking to boost their goalkeeping resources & are keen to agree a loan deal, with an option to purchase a ‘keeper on a permanent basis in the summer. pic.twitter.com/C2u5ztNnQB
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) January 14, 2021
‘Asked for an exit…’
It therefore came as little surprise when the subject of Neto’s future was brought to the fore during Ronald Koeman’s latest press conference earlier today.
Ahead of his side’s Spanish Super Cup meeting with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, the Barcelona boss was drawn on the widespread speculation surrounding his no.2.
And Koeman went on to admit that, through his agent, Neto has in fact already requested a departure from the Camp Nou:
‘It’s true that his representative has asked the club for an exit.’
The Dutchman, however, went on to add that the Arsenal-linked shot-stopper will not be permitted to move on this month, with Barca keen, for the time being at least, to maintain his services:
‘We have said no because he is an important goalkeeper for us and we want to be very well covered at each position.’
The Barcelona keeper looks to be keen on a move to Arsenal 👀
— Goal News (@GoalNews) January 16, 2021
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This article was edited by Josh Barker.