Arsenal are bracing for some big changes within the squad, with no area less ready for a makeover than the midfielder. An exodus is underway and all signs point to Mikel Arteta already finding the man he wants to replace Granit Xhaka.
A move to Rome will be completed ahead of the kickoff of Euro 2020 on June 11, with all parties involved eager to see a move complete in time for Xhaka to fully focus on his duties with Switzerland, Jose Mourinho for land his first target and Arsenal. to move on to other options.
Considering the speed at which Ruben Neves has been linked with North London since, a move which has attracted all major outlets, including Goal, he is currently the ‘replacement’. Xhaka’s deal will be done momentarily, but it will take some patience when it comes to the 24-year-old who is absent with the Portuguese national team and who is unlikely to want to start negotiating his future.
Everything suggests he is eager to move, which would cost Arsenal around Â£ 40million. It’s not cheap at all, and of course comparisons will be made with Xhaka leaving for about half that price. Both players have two more years on their contracts and are at very different cycles in their careers, one approaching 29 and the other just turning 24.
Arsenal consider Ruben Neves player more money transfer as Gunners could haggle Wolves’ Â£ 40million asking price
There is also the inter-Premier League tax. Selling to another top club will almost always come at a high cost and it wasn’t that long ago that Neves was courted by England’s big hitters including Manchester City during Mikel Arteta’s time there.
Nonetheless, Arsenal will need more than a central midfielder this summer. It’s still unclear which system the manager will be looking to play, but Neves is someone who has played exclusively as a two-man midfielder at Wolves; this has come in a variety of systems, be it 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1, or 3-4-1-2.
If the 4-3-3 is adopted next season, Neves will likely play the option role in depth with Thomas Partey to his right, although his early days at Molineux saw him pushed further. He’s not the profile of the player Arteta will want to sit at at No.10, for example.
But with more midfielders needed, even if Neves arrives, that asking price of Â£ 40million will take a good chunk out of the budget, which is why ways to haggle over those fees will be welcome.
There is someone in the squad that Arsenal can include in the deal.