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GREEN LIGHT: Edu handed key Arsenal transfer boost amid Barcelona’s surprise World Cup January target

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Thomas Partey has been excellent for Arsenal in the early weeks of this season and is a crucial piece of Mikel Arteta’s midfield jigsaw. This has been epitomised by the influence of the 29-year-old when he is included in the starting line-up.

Arsenal’s likelihood to win a game increases by a large margin when he is playing compared to when he is absent from kick-off. Since his arrival in 2020, he has been an automatic starter under Arteta.

However, his consistent injury issues mean Arsenal cannot entirely rely on the midfielder. It is for this reason that an alternative option that can offer a similar amount of quality is needed and this could be Edu’s thinking in the Gunners’ pursuit of Ruben Neves. And, Arsenal have been given a boost in trying to secure his signature thanks to the World Cup.

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According to Argentine journalist Veronica Brunati, Barcelona were edging close to agreeing a deal to sign Neves from Wolves before the World Cup. The Catalan club had also been heavily linked to the midfielder last season.

However, it has been recently reported by Mundo Deportivo that La Liga side are now very interested in signing Azzedine Ounahi and are ready to make an offer to Angers. The World Cup performances of the Moroccan midfielder have reportedly persuaded Barcelona to make a move.

This is a major boost for Arsenal because Neves and Ounahi play in the same position, which means it is unlikely for Barcelona to sign both players in one transfer window. This gives Edu room to explore a deal for Neves.

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Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohammed Elneny are the two backup players to Partey and Granit Xhaka, but their levels in terms of experience and quality do not compare with the two starters.

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Neves would be able to bridge the quality gap, and a deal could be easier to complete as Wolves ramped up their transfer business and the midfielder is yet to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring at the end of the next season.

According to the Sunday Express, the Gunners are hoping to move ahead of rivals in their pursuit of Wolves midfielder Neves. The Gunners are known to be admirers of the Portuguese international after being heavily linked with him last season.

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Neves’ contract is reaching a precarious stage where Wolves will have to accept losing the player for a cut-price fee or accept the fate of losing him on a free transfer. This is an opportunity that Arsenal can look to pounce on, and without the threat of Barcelona, Edu could have less competition.

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