Pedro Neto’s £50m transfer decision is shockingly easy amid Arsenal, Man Utd, and Aston Villa interest

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The Wolves winger has emerged as a transfer target for several Premier League clubs.

According to the fickle beast that is Wikipedia, the name ‘Neto’ is a generational suffix, used to indicate when a Portuguese-speaking person shares the same moniker as both their father and grandfather. Think of it like ‘III’ in English. I only bring this up is because in the case of Pedro Lomba Neto, Wolverhampton Wanderers winger, it feels as if he has been linked with a move to Arsenal since his avô was knee-high to a grasshopper. And still the rumours persist.

There is a reason why Neto, as he is commonly known, is such a darling of the gossip columns. Every now and again, in both the Premier League and beyond, a player will begin to tower over the relatively modest aspirations of a club until their obvious, monolithic potential can no longer be ignored; Declan Rice would be a fitting recent example. Jack Grealish might be another. In those instances, it is only ever usually a matter of time before a member - or in some cases, several members - of the traditional big six come snooping around, flaunting their tailfeathers and jangling their coin purses. It’s the kind of rote, ritualistic cycle that you can almost imagine narrated in an Attenborough documentary.

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Anyways, it would appear that Neto is the latest object of these such desires. According to 90min, the 23-year-old is still attracting interest from the Gunners, who have been particularly impressed by a start to the season that has already yielded one goal, four assists, and a salvo of praise from casual observers. Elsewhere, Aston Villa and Atletico Madrid are also credited with their own respective admirations, while transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has tentatively suggested that Manchester United could look to lure the wide man to Old Trafford as a replacement for the disillusioned Jadon Sancho.

Wolves winger Pedro Neto. The attacker has emerged as a transfer target for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester UnitedWolves winger Pedro Neto. The attacker has emerged as a transfer target for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United
Wolves winger Pedro Neto. The attacker has emerged as a transfer target for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United

But while the prospect of an all-inclusive stay at the Overlook Hotel might be tempting, surely Neto will find it difficult to resist Arsenal’s charms. Indeed, were it not for the serious knee injury he sustained in April 2021, a cruel cosmic rupture that left him sidelined for 10 whole months, the Gunners might already have made their move for the £50 million-rated attacker. Regardless, the fact that we are still sat here, ruminating on Mikel Arteta’s pursuit some two-and-a-half years after Neto’s world was torn asunder, would suggest that Arsenal are not only genuine, but that they have a tangible plan for the Portugal international. By contrast, you suspect United barely have a plan in place in case of their team coach gets a flat tyre.

Because ultimately, this feels like a question of trajectories. Arsenal’s project is hurtling steadily upwards at quite a pace, and those associated with the club at the present moment in time are benefitting from that velocity. There is, of course, a considerable element of symbiosis involved, but over the past handful of seasons, the likes of Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have gone from promising prospects to certified world class talents. The Gunners are a club that, in essence, provide a working environment which encourages individual growth to serve a more holistic gain. (To their credit, the same could be said of Aston Villa under Unai Emery, but given a choice between Champions League and Europa Conference football, surely the decision is a fairly simple one.)

At the other end of the spectrum, Manchester United are a club where careers/reputations/dreams generally go to wither and wilt. We have reached a stage whereby a player making a success of their time at Old Trafford has become the exception, rather than the rule itself. Why that is the case is hard to say; indeed, if I had the answer perhaps I would be the grouchy bald man in the dugout, and not Erik ten Hag.

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But whatever the reason, the reality remains the same. United is not a destination that naturally elicits a belief that new signings will be able to further their career there. Maybe that is a factually accurate assessment, maybe it is not, but the fact lingers, perceptions matter.

With that in mind, given a straight choice between the Gunners and the Red Devils, Neto’s decision feels like an absolute no-brainer. And I’m afraid that could be bad news for United.

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