'To clarify' - Fabrizio Romano wades in on Arsenal £47m transfer revelation

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Fabrizio Romano has shed more light on the revelations over Ruben Neves' failed Arsenal move.

Arsenal pulled out of a deal to sign Ruben Neves from Wolves last summer due to the Midlands club's lofty €40 million valuation. The Gunners were unable to make the transfer financially viable as they kept Thomas Partey on the books at the Emirates Stadium.

That's according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano on his popular Daily Briefing. Neves was one of the highest rated players in the Wolves squad last season and made a big-money switch to Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia last summer.

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LondonWorld yesterday reported words from Neves, who admitted that a move to Arsenal was 'close to happening'. He said: "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. 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."

Romano has now elaborated on what went wrong on a switch to the Gunners. Arsenal were in the market for a defensive midfielder last summer and of course, landed Declan Rice from West Ham for £100 million. The England international has excelled at the Emirates but it appears that the acquisition of Neves would have been as well as Rice, not instead of.

A deal for Neves was blocked thanks to Wolves' high price tag as well as the fact that Partey was to stay at Arsenal - the Ghanian's departure may have freed up space for Neves on the wage bill.

Romano said: "Ruben Neves has admitted that he had 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.

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Arsenal had looked to make a move for Ruben Neves last summer.Arsenal had looked to make a move for Ruben Neves last summer.
Arsenal had looked to make a move for Ruben Neves last summer.

“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. The money was the issue – it was impossible for Barcelona to complete with this offer, and Arsenal decided to leave talks as it emerged that Thomas Partey would be staying.”

Al Hilal ended up paying around £47 million to the Premier League side for the 26-year-old, who turned out more than 250 times for Wolves. Neves' departure and a lack of recruitment were some of the factors that led to Julen Lopetegui quitting Molineux last year - the club citing that they had 'accepted their differences of opinion on certain issues and agreed that an amicable end to his contract was the best solution'.

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