Exclusive: Why Arsenal pulled out of €40m midfielder transfer, according to Fabrizio Romano

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Transfer news expert Fabrizio Romano has provided further context to quotes from Ruben Neves that came out yesterday about interest from Arsenal and Barcelona during the summer.

Neves ended up making the move from Wolves to Al Hilal, becoming one of a number of big names to leave a major European league for the big money on offer in the Saudi Pro League, but it seems he had the chance to stay in the Premier League as well.

Neves named Arsenal as someone he got into very advanced talks with, as well as Barca, but Romano explained that the cost of the deal was an issue for both clubs.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column, Romano explained that Barcelona couldn’t afford to pay €40million for Neves, while Arsenal cooled their interest in such a costly deal as it then emerged that Thomas Partey wouldn’t be leaving the Emirates Stadium, suggesting that that sale would have been needed to fund the signing of the Portugal international.

Ruben Neves of Al Hilal

Neves transfer: Romano explains why Arsenal and Barcelona deals didn’t happen

“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 said.

“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.”

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