Arsenal: First fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season
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Arsenal’s hopes of signing Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves are dependent on whether they can offload Granit Xhaka this summer, according to reports. The Gunners man has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks, with Roma said to be keeping tabs on the 28-year-old as new boss Jose Mourinho looks to improve his squad.
Xhaka is believed to be one of several Arsenal players on the chopping block, with Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu keen on leading a large-scale summer overhaul.
The Swiss international made 45 appearances for the club in all competitions last season but looks set to move on in time for the new campaign.
He has reportedly agreed personal terms with Roma ahead of his proposed switch to the Italian capital, with negotiations at club level said to be the only obstacle holding up a deal.
Although Xhaka has lacked quality and consistency at times during his Arsenal stay, his departure will leave a significant hole in the Gunners midfield unless a suitable replacement arrives.
It seems as though Neves could be their first-choice alternative, with the Wolves man reportedly available this summer as the Molineux club look to boost their transfer kitty through player sales.
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Arsenal are said to be hopeful that a bid of £34million would be enough to secure the 24-year-old’s signature, with improvements in the middle of the park believed to be an overwhelming priority for Arteta and Edu this summer.
However, the north London club will not be able to land Neves over the coming months unless Xhaka is sold, according to The Transfer Window Podcast.
It remains to be seen whether Roma will eventually meet Arsenal’s reported asking price of £20m for the versatile midfielder, who has stepped in at full-back on a number of recent occasions.
Other reports have suggested that the Italian heavyweights have already seen a bid in the region of £15m knocked back, with the Gunners believed to be standing firm in their transfer stance.
Despite this, a move to Italy appears to be the most likely course of action for Xhaka, who has endured a turbulent time at Arsenal since joining the club from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.
Meanwhile, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell recently suggested that Neves would represent a significant upgrade on the Basel native if Arteta and Edu can secure his services this summer.
“What a player he is,” Campbell told Football Insider. “This is the crazy thing, he was never on my radar because as far as I am concerned Wolves would never sell him.
“Neves is a brilliant midfielder at a good age. He can hit them from outside the box as well. That is a rare talent. He is a fine player and at 24 he still has time to develop.
“There will be some big changes at Wolves this summer and if Arsenal can sneak in a deal for Neves that would be great. I think £40million is a great price for him to be honest.”
Despite Campbell’s enthusiasm over a potential move for Neves, former Aston Villa and England forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is not convinced that the Wolves man would be a roaring success at Arsenal.
“For me, Neves is not the type of player Arsenal need and I think Arsenal fans would agree,” said Agbonlahor.
“Any Arsenal fan I speak to or see is devastated that Buendia chose Villa. They’d rather the money spent on an attacking threat.
“They need to maybe bring in somebody stronger to play alongside Partey in midfield. Neves is not the sort of player they need.”
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