Updated:Aug 23, 2022
Arsenal are reportedly planning to make a late swoop for Wolves attacker Pedro Neto, with The Gunners looking to strengthen in that area of the pitch before the transfer window slams shut at 11 pm Thursday, September 1.
The move has recently gained further traction, in the media at least, after an old video surfaced of Pedro Neto claiming that Arsenal was his “favourite club” growing up.
The question remains though: would he be a good signing for The Gunners?
Competition for Bukayo Saka
With Nicolas Pepe seemingly on his way out of the club, and Reiss Nelson failing to make an impact, Arsenal needs a player that can compete with Bukayo Saka for a position in Arsenal’s starting eleven – not just to improve the squad, but also to allow Mikel Arteta to give Saka some much-needed rest.Embed from Getty Images
The 20-year-old has featured in 73 of Arsenal’s last 79 Premier League games – including each of the last 41. For such a young player, that is not an ideal situation to be in.
Playing so many games at this point of a career can lead to extreme fatigue, both mentally and physically as well as increasing the risk of injury. Arsenal will be desperate to ensure that Nukayo Saka does not endure the same fate suffered by Jack Wilshere.
On this basis, Pedro Neto would be a good signing.
Throughout his career, Neto has often been deployed on the left wing. However, he has played on the right several times whilst at Wolves and has produced multiple good displays from such a position.
The most recent of which came against Tottenham where he looked very dangerous from the right-hand side, particularly in the first half.
The ability to play on both wings is huge and would enable Saka to get that rest he clearly needs.
That’s a big green tick from me.
Arsenal’s transfer strategy
It is no secret that Arsenal has shifted their focus from experienced players to younger, hungrier players in recent transfer windows – so much so that they actually had the youngest average squad age in the Premier League last season, with an average of 24.84 years according to Skysports.com.
This is a strategy that has worked extremely well so far for the club. They came very close to a top-four finish last time out, and have started this season very well. ‘The process’ finally seems to be taking effect.
There is perhaps an argument to be had that the club is leaning too much into this strategy and that the lack of experienced players in the squad could potentially be detrimental to their season.Embed from Getty Images
However, if we just focus on the strategy itself, and the direction that Arsenal Football Club clearly wants to move in, then this transfer makes a lot of sense.
Pedro Neto is just 22 years old and is already acclimatised to life in the Premier League.
So that’s yet another big tick for this potential move.
Value for money
For me, this is the one question mark surrounding the potential success of this move.
According to David Ornstein, Wolves do not want to sell Neto. and with five years left on his contract, they don’t need to either.
The combination of both these factors means that Pedro Neto won’t come cheap, with a fee of around £50 million being reported in the media.
At that price, I do think there is a risk that Neto fails to live up to the price tag.
in 76 appearances in the Premier League, the forward has managed just 9 goals and 10 assists; that’s an average of a goal or an assist every four games.
Given that he is playing for a club that, for the majority of his time in the league, has been defensive-minded, those numbers are more impressive than they seem, but by no means are they extraordinary.
Of course, at Arsenal, he would see a lot more of the ball and be playing for a side that are likely to dominate a lot of games this season, so we can expect those numbers to rise.
In my opinion, a goal or an assist every three games from Neto would represent a good return for the season, particularly as it would be his first season – and I believe he is more than capable of doing so.
Add to that the fact that he is likely to develop further at Arsenal given his age, and I think that this deal does represent a good return on investment. even at a £50 million price point.
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