Romano reveals why Arsenal pulled out of Ruben Neves deal

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 28 Feb 2024 17:22 GMT
  • 4 min read
Ruben Neves, Arsenal, Al-Hilal, 2023/24

Fabrizio Romano has revealed why Arsenal did not sign Ruben Neves after the midfielder claimed he was close to joining last summer.

The Gunners were interested in signing the then-Wolves star last year, but a deal ultimately did not materialise. Instead, Neves became one of the biggest names to head to the Saudi Pro League, also commanding one of the biggest transfer fees in league history.

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The Portuguese international joined record champions Al-Hilal for a whopping €55 million and has been in good form for the table-topping Saudi side. While former Fulham sharpshooter Aleksandar Mitrovic has been scoring prolifically, Neves has been a productive assister, setting up six goals and scoring four times across all competitions.

READ MORE: Arsenal urged to sign €85m star INSTEAD of Toney and Osimhen

Speaking to O Jogo, the midfielder revealed on Tuesday that he was close to joining Barcelona and Arsenal in the summer before eventually heading to the Middle East. “I was close to three clubs and it ended up not happening, which saddened me and helped me make the decision to go to Al Hilal," he said,

“I didn't want to mention names, but Barcelona was one of the hottest and it wasn't a lie. It was close to happening, just like with Arsenal. Then there was another club outside England. These were events that accumulated and then, with this golden opportunity, I had no doubts about accepting it. I was tired of transfers that didn't happen."

Ruben Neves
© IMAGO - Ruben Neves

Why the Arsenal move collapsed

Fabrizio Romano has now shed light on why Neves did not end up joining Arsenal or Barcelona, claiming that it was due to Wolves' excessive asking price. “Ruben Neves has admitted that he has the chance to stay in Europe this summer before moving to Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal, saying that things got very advanced with both Barcelona and Arsenal,” Romano told CaughtOffside.

“To clarify what this means here, Barcelona had an agreement with Neves on personal terms. Arsenal asked his agent about a potential move, but it was less advanced than Barca. In the end, it didn’t happen because Wolves only wanted to sell for a fee in excess of €40m and the best proposal was from Al Hilal."

READ MORE: Doucoure deal denies Arsenal and Man Utd a Caicedo-standard upgrade

“The money was the issue – it was impossible for Barcelona to complete this offer, and Arsenal decided to leave talks as it emerged that Thomas Partey would be staying.” This summer, Partey could once again prove influential. FootballTransfers has been told that he could be offered a new Arsenal deal if he can prove his fitness in the final months of the season.

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