Arsenal started the season excellently with five wins from five fixtures until this impressive run ended following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United. Despite the dominant start, it is still important that Edu looks to add strength in depth to Arsenal’s midfield in January.
Youri Tielemans seemed to be the player who would be signed, but a deal stalled in the final weeks of the window. However, after Wolves’ recent transfer activity, it could create an opportunity for Arsenal to reignite their interest in Ruben Neves.
The Portuguese international’s versatility in playing as a No.8 or No.6 in the midfield would be extremely beneficial for Mikel Arteta going into the final part of the season. And his excellent start to the campaign has highlighted that he can fulfill Thomas Partey’s role in Arsenal's midfield.
So far in this campaign, Neves ranks fourth in the Premier League for the most tackles as he taken the ball from his opponent on 25 occasions. This part of Neves’ game has certainly gone under the radar as he is more known for his on the-ball-attributes.
Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are two players whose place in the team are currently untouchable. Albert Sambi Lokogna and Mohammed Elneny are the two backup players, but their levels in terms of experience and quality do not compare with the two starters.
Partey has missed 50% of Premier League with Arsenal since joining the club in 2020 due to consistent injury issues, while Xhaka has had suspension difficulties in the past, meaning both players cannot be relied on to consistently start together.
Neves would be able to bridge the quality gap, and a deal could be easier to complete as Wolves ramped up their transfer business and the midfielder is yet to sign a new contract.
Neves said about a potential transfer in the previous window: "There are no secrets with that. I had a chance to go, I didn't go, and I stayed, and I will give 200 per cent for this club because they have given me a lot."
At the end of this campaign, Neves will enter the final year of his contract. To prevent losing him for a much cheaper price, Wolves could be forced to sell him in January, and it is a situation Edu should look to explore..
Wolves manager Bruno Lage has never hidden his admiration for the 24-year-old and even recently claimed that he could be worth up to £100million this summer. Speaking to our sister title Birmingham Live, he said: "I don't know if it's Man Utd or other teams. What I know is we have a special player here with us.
"When you have that player, the best thing to do is improve his salary and years of contract. But who knows, when you have a top player like him in that specific position, that can defend and attack, and is a top professional and a great man, the big teams are there with £100million to buy these kinds of players."
Despite the major price tag quoted by Lage, the Wolves manager said this before his side spent £42million on securing the signature of Nunez. There could certainly be room for negotiation if the Gunners do look to target Neves in January, as Sky Sports had reported in the summer transfer window.
His impressive tackling statistics could finally persuade Edu to attempt a transfer in the upcoming windows. The Gunners need to sign a midfielder, and Neves is proving to be the right profile.