Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has reportedly asked the club to sign Al-Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves when the transfer window reopens in January.
The Gunners made reinforcements in the summer, bringing in midfielders Declan Rice from West Ham United and Kai Havertz from Chelsea. Following an impressive second-placed finish in the Premier League last season, the Gunners have seemingly continued from where they left off.
They’re third in the standings after 12 games but only a point behind defending champions and current leaders Manchester City (28). Arteta aims to launch a sustained charge for the Premier League title and also go deep in their first UEFA Champions League in six years.
As per Spanish outlet Sport (via Football fancast), the Gunners boss has asked his club to snap up Neves. The Portuguese left Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers in a surprise move this summer to join Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Hilal.
Arteta sees Neves as a potential replacement – perhaps an upgrade – on Thomas Partey who has struggled with form and injuries recently. Having made just five appearances across competitions this season, the Ghanian is down the pecking order at the Emirates and is expected to leave in January for pastures anew.
However, the Gunners could have to fend off fellow Premier League side Newcastle United, who are also in the fray for Neves.
What did Julen Lopetegui say about Arsenal-target Ruben Neves?
Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Julen Lopetegui has said highly of Arsenal target Ruben Neves, who now plies his trade in the Saudi top flight for Al-Hilal.
In his first season in charge at the Molineux last season, Lopetegui took Wolves to a 13th-placed league finish, but Neves was one of the top performers. In 41 appearances across competitions, the 26-year-old registered six goals and an assist. All the goal contributions came in 35 league outings.
Lopetegui said about the Portuguese midfielder last season (as per the aforementioned source):
“Ruben is a very important player for us and now he is ready to play. It is good news for us, for sure. He is a very good player, a very complete player and important for the dressing room and on the pitch.”
In 17 appearances for his current side, Al-Hilal, the Arsenal target has scored twice and provided an assist. Al-Hilal are atop the Saudi Pro League standings with 35 points from 13 games, four ahead of second-placed Al-Nassr.