EXCLUSIVE: Arteta’s Xavi Simons plan revealed as Neto remains Arsenal priority

Steve Kay
Steve Kay
  • Updated: 24 Jan 2024 15:02 GMT
  • 3 min read
Pedro Neto, Xavi Simons, Arsenal, 2023/24
© ProShots

Arsenal are chasing RB Leipzig attacker Xavi Simons but the player on-loan from PSG at the Bundesliga side remains a backup option to WolvesPedro Neto, FootballTransfers has been told.

FootballTransfers can confirm that the Gunners are indeed tracking Simons, who has five goals and seven assists in 18 Bundesliga matches this season, but Pedro Neto remains the player that manager Mikel Arteta most covets.

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Arsenal have been tracking Neto for months. The 23-year-old had been monitored by the Emirates club before sustaining a serious knee injury at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, and after finally rediscovering his best form this term, Arteta is getting ready to launch a summer transfer bid.

Neto has eight assists in 12 Premier League matches this season plus one goal, while he is admired because of his versatility.

Arsenal will not have an easy run at the player. Manchester City are eager to sign the Portugal international, and FootballTransfers has revealed that manager Pep Guardiola has instructed Neto’s international teammates to talk him into a move to the Premier League champions.

Man City want to assure the 23-year-old that he will be given regular first-team football at the Etihad – a vital factor in determining where he will move.

Arteta keeping options open

Xavi Simons, RB Leipzig
© ProShots - Xavi Simons, RB Leipzig

It is with this in the background that Arsenal’s interest in Simons has stepped up.

The 20-year-old Netherlands international possesses similar qualities to Neto in that he can operate off either wing, and though he is more of a wide playmaker than a classic winger, Arteta has been impressed by what he has seen of the player.

The Dutchman, meanwhile, has not been beset by the injury problems that have plagued Neto in recent seasons.

Simons has suggested that he is open to leaving PSG, where he re-signed from PSV last summer for just €4m before being sent on loan to RB Leipzig to get first-team football.

His Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) stands at €36m, but Arsenal would likely have to pay more than that to tempt PSG into the sale of one of Europe’s brightest prospects.

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