Following the recent performances from Runarsson and the rumours he is set for a loan move away, coupled with Matt Macey’s departure from the club, Arsenal have identified this as a weakness in the side. Naturally, nobody is suggesting we replace Leno. Even those against the sale of Emiliano Martinez cannot deny that Leno is one of the best ‘keepers in the league and in some games this season he has been the reason why we don’t find ourselves further down the table.
However, there is a worry around the club that we are one Leno injury away from a crisis. I’m not giving up so soon on Runarsson, but it would be unfair on him to have to deal with the pressure of starting for Arsenal week in week out. Arsenal recognise they need someone with a bit more quality and experience to play understudy.
To do that, they have identified Barcelona’s current understudy Neto. The Gunners are rumoured to be interested in taking the Brazilian on a 6 month loan with an option to make it permanent in the summer. However, reports continue to suggest that Neto would only be interested if he were guaranteed game time. In the league I don’t see us giving him much game time over Leno, however we might be able to give him the Europa League and FA Cup games. Based on recent history in these cups, we often play our understudy goalie for the entirety of these competitions which might be enough to convince him.
From what I have seen from Neto he is a safe pair of hands with good experience. With the growing Brazilian contingent in our team and his experience I do not think he would take long to settle in. His agent is Kia Joorabchian, who has strong ties with Edu and has brought players like Willian and David Luiz to the club. This is why a loan move would be ideal; we get 6 months to work out whether or not he is worth the permanent contract so we aren’t stuck with a large contract with an ageing player for the next few years like is the situation with Willian.
Photo: Дмитрий Пукалик