Arsenal: Wolves midfielder identified as Xhaka’s replacement

Arsenal have held talks with Wolves over the potential transfer of Ruben Neves to replace the outgoing Granit Xhaka, according to Goal.

Arsenal have been in the hunt for a midfielder ever since Granit Xhaka reportedly expressed his decision to the club about leaving in the summer. There have been rumours about Xhaka’s move being finalised with Roma.

Obviously, we’ve seen many people criticize Xhaka, but in reality, he’s a very solid midfielder. He’s been at the club for five years now, and he’s been one of the better players at Arsenal, especially during their not-so-good times.

Yes, he’s had his shortcomings, but for the most part, he’s been decent. So, they need a proper replacement for the midfielder and they have identified Ruben Neves as one, a player that has a pretty high ceiling.

How good is Ruben Neves? How well does he fit at Arsenal?

Ruben Neves is a pretty good midfielder that usually played in a two-man midfield under Wolves manager Neno before his departure. He’s been pretty good, although he has had a few rough patches in terms of form.

But if he was to partner Thomas Partey in a two-man midfield, I think he’d do a pretty good job. Obviously, Partey — on paper — is one of the better defensive midfielders in the league. Combining that with Neves’ intelligence and his knack for doing smart defensive work, it should work out pretty well for Arsenal.

The price that has been mentioned for Neves is around £35 million. It’s not the biggest amount ever, but it’s certainly a considerable one. After all, Neves is just 24 years old and he still has two years left on his contract, so his price would be a bit higher.

He’s not technically at his peak yet, either. If he can eventually reach his full potential at the club, it could be very important for the Gunners.

Neves had a very good individual season with Wolves in 2020/21. He took a big leap in his defensive production. He averaged 3.03 tackles per game, 19.4 presses per game (out of which 6.5 were successful, which had a higher 9.7% success rate from last season).

He also averaged 2.39 blocks per game, 1.55 interceptions per game and 1.82 clearances per game.

His passing numbers are OK. They could be better, but they’ve seen an improvement from last season. He averaged an 85.5% accuracy in passes. He had 1.05 key passes per game, along with 6.84 passes into the attacking third per game, which is actually very good.

So, he’s definitely someone that can help Arsenal in more ways than one.

All in all, it can be a really good signing for Arsenal, since they need a midfielder, among a lot of other things. But this could prove to be a good start, and this guy certainly has the potential to be a very good player.