Ruben Neves has been heavily linked with a transfer to Arsenal recently so I’ve taken a look at how the Portugal international could fit into Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal and what it could mean for the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
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Ruben Neves would be an excellent signing for Arsenal. Not only is he technically excellent: a rangy passer, extremely composed on the ball and solid defensively, but he’s also comfortable playing in various formations. During his time in the Premier League with Wolves, we saw how he was equally as comfortable at playing in all variations of a back 3, as well as playing in a back 4 like he did this season. This flexibility suggests he could slot into Arteta’s most used systems, the 3-4-3 from last season and the 4-2-3-1 from this season. Neves is a very active defender and he’s very tidy in possession but what sets him apart from other defensive midfielders, isn’t just his ability to score from distance, but his long range passing. The former Porto man ranks in the very top percentiles for long passes and his 4.19 switches per 90 ranks him in the top 4% of midfielders across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues. This type of pass could help get the most out of Kieran Tierney’s overlapping runs. Ruben Neves is exactly the kind of controlling midfielder that would improve Arsenal under Arteta, complimenting Thomas Partey’s shorter style of passing whilst offering Arteta the chance to switch to a 4-3-3.