The stunning £60m Premier League attacker swoop that Arsenal must beat Liverpool to this summer
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In the red corner, we have Arsenal - Premier League title contenders, Champions League qualification dead certs, and hopeful of reinforcing their attacking options in the summer transfer window. And in the red corner (a separate, different red corner), we have Liverpool - Premier League title contenders, Champions League qualification dead certs, and hopeful of reinforcing their attacking options in the summer transfer window. Between them, suspended above the ring like a gold-plated championship belt, is Pedro Neto. Let the battle commence.
It is no great secret that the Wolves winger has admirers at both Anfield and the Emirates. For several successive windows now he has been touted as a target for Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp's respective giants, and while injuries have occasionally hampered his involvement in recent times, the longer he impresses for his current club, the more inevitable a big money exit seemingly becomes.
Indeed, it could even happen as soon as this summer. According to a report from Spanish outlet Fichajes, Arsenal and Liverpool are still attentively monitoring Neto's situation at Molineux ahead of prospective offers. This corroborates recent updates from closer to home which claim that the Gunners and the Reds have had scouts in attendance at a number of Wolves matches of late with the express intention of watching the 23-year-old in action.
For their part, it is understood that Wanderers could be convinced into a sale in the coming months amid ongoing financial pressures. As per Football Insider, a bid in the region of £50-60 million may well tempt Gary O'Neil's men into parting with their prize asset.
And if that valuation is accurate, then it is Arsenal who simply must make a deal happen. Last summer, the Gunners spent big to bring in the likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz - high profile players who cost considerable amounts, but who also went a long way towards plugging the apparent gaps that Arteta saw in his squad. By no means is this Arsenal side a finished article yet, though.
The most obvious position that needs strengthening is the point of attack, but there are arguments to be made for bringing in cover and competition in wide areas too. Beyond Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and arguably Leandro Trossard, the Gunners have very little in the way of star power out on the flanks. Reiss Nelson is their only other genuine senior option, and while he is an appreciated member of the dressing room, few could argue that he is indispensable.
To that end, Neto would represent a notable upgrade, and one brimming with proven Premier League quality. So far this season, he has registered 10 assists and three goals across 18 appearances in all competitions for Wolves, and has been an influential factor in their outside bid for European qualification. At the risk of over-simplifying things, imagine what he could do in a team of Arsenal's obvious pedigree.
Of course, it is for this exact reason that Liverpool are also keen, but if the Gunners are to cement their place among the very best in the country and in Europe, Neto is exactly the kind of acquisition that they need to be making year after year.