Arsenal target Neto ‘wants to challenge Leno’ for starting place

January 16, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Arsenal target Neto would ‘want to challenge Bernd Leno’ for a starting place if he joined the Gunners, according to reports.

The North London side were linked with the Barcelona shot-stopper yesterday.

It’s thought that manager Mikel Arteta wants a replacement for backup keeper Runar Alex Runarsson.

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According to the Express, Arsenal would need to guarantee Neto a shot at the number one shirt if they signed him.

The report states that he is tired of being a backup keeper and would like to give Leno a significant challenge.

Neto has been the understudy to Marc-Andre ter Stegen since joining the Spanish giants in June 2019.

He signed from Valencia for a €26 million fee, with Jasper Cillessen moving in the opposite direction as part of a separate deal.

The Gunners could make a move for Neto this month. A deal is expected to cost them around £18 million, which is less than what they paid for current number one Leno.

One sticking point is his guarantee of a challenge to Leno. Arteta will want to keep a solid backline to ensure Arsenal’s upturn in form continues.

Arsenal’s backup keeper place has been available ever since the transfer of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa.

Runarsson had the opportunity to impress in the Carabao Cup tie against Man City last month.

He looked out of his depth though, being beaten at the front post for City’s first goal.

Runarsson also failed to deal with a Riyad Mahrez free kick. The shot went straight through his gloves and into the net for City’s second goal.

Neto would provide Arteta with more experience in the squad. He’s made over 200 appearances as a professional, which includes spells at Juventus and Fiorentina.

Arsenal’s next match is against Newcastle United on Monday in the Premier League.