If Arsenal want to buy a Wolves player, it should be Pedro Neto and not Ruben Neves
There was one clear element that was missing in the current Arsenal squad, which finished roughly around mid-table in the Premier League. Slow build-up play.
Mikel Arteta’s tactics were branded as too pedestrian as the Gunners looked like a team who only played sideways, barely threatening their opponents. The emergence of Emile Smith Rowe in the first team and then the signing of Martin Odegaard helped the squad in being more unpredictable.
It is clear that Arsenal need more “direct” players who can carry the team forward when the majority of the players are sitting in a low block. Bukayo Saka and Smith Rowe have done that job exceptionally well. But same cannot be said of their other teammates.
While Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is a player who tends to be involved only in the end product, Nicolas Pepe’s failure to beat his own man countless times have hurt the London side massively.
A rock-solid defense needs two things to function well: compactness, and the quantity of players inside their own half. While Arsenal have achieved both since Mikel Arteta took over, they have failed to come up with inventive ideas while turning defense into attack in a flash.
Although they have the perfect player on the right-wing in the form of Saka, they need an upgrade on Gabriel Martinelli on the left flank. He cannot be expected to play the whole 38 league matches and that’s why a decent option who can fight it out with the Brazilian makes sense.
This is where Pedro Neto enters the frame. The Portuguese is one of the better wingers in his age bracket, who are currently plying their trade in Europe.
U21s with most successful dribbles in Europe's top 5 leagues:
🇧🇪Jéremy Doku – 110
🇧🇷Matheus Cunha – 82
🏴Jadon Sancho – 77
🇪🇸Bryan Gil – 67
🇵🇹Pedro Neto – 64
🇨🇦Alphonso Davies – 63
🏴Dwight McNeil – 63
🇩🇪Florian Wirtz – 60
🇫🇷Éric Ebimbe – 59 pic.twitter.com/lOq4k8fbaK
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) May 26, 2021
Only four players (21 or below) better him when it comes to dribbling statistics.
The 21-year-old has 20 goal involvements in 79 appearances for The Wanderers. Wolves have benefitted hugely from a player who can create something ‘on his own.’ And that cannot be said of many Arsenal wingers.
His Progressive Carries, Carries into Final Third and Carries into Penalty Area are all at an exceptional figure of 9.64, 3.18 and 1.91 respectively per 90 minutes. Those are superior numbers than Saka’s 7.26/1.90/1.30 and Nicolas Pepe’s 5.90/1/1.73.
Manchester City’s Ruben Dias compared his countryman’s dribbling to all-time great Cristiano Ronaldo by saying, “Again I need to say Cristiano (Ronaldo). The time he was here he was definitely great, he got the Ballon D’Or, but I have to say (Pedro) Neto as well.”
The fact that the Arsenal supporters were drooling over Calum Chambers’ crosses in the second half of the campaign shows a clear sign of weakness in the squad. The Wolves’ man Crosses into Penalty Area is also way superior than Arsenal’s famous quartet of Saka, Pepe, Chambers and Kieran Tierney.
Convinced Pedro Neto is the next big thing marooned on one of the more defensive sides in the league pic.twitter.com/flsDn2ZKbE
— Tom Worville (@Worville) May 18, 2021
There are no question marks as to whether the North London outfit can massively benefit from Neto’s crossing. The club has been linked to various names in the market. Bringing in a striker who has a good-aerial presence can give Arsenal a different edge than Aubameyang over their opponents.
The former Braga player’s Key Passes, Switches, Shot Creating Actions are also at an admirable 2.12/2.01/3.92.
His defensive side of the game is what needs tending. But at 21, the ceiling for improvement is pretty high. Neto has already been touted as a Jadon Sancho alternative, if Manchester United fail to land their number one choice.
That automatically tells us a lot about Pedro Neto. The “next big thing” in Europe.