Arsenal saw Pedro Neto transfer clause prevent Wolves star from joining ‘favourite team’

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Wolves star Pedro Neto once came close to joining Arsenal but the proposed deal collapsed following the Gunners reluctance to meet a release clause in his Braga contract. The Portuguese winger has enjoyed a dramatic rise to stardom this season under Nuno Espirito Santo, following his move to Molineux from Lazio in 2019.

Yet even before he arrived on English shores, Neto was well known to the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.

During his Braga days, the player’s fine form at youth level had got people talking, as scouts jetted in to watch him in action.

The now 20-year-old even went on trial at Manchester United in 2016, before being rejected by the Red Devils.

Jose Mourinho then attempted to reignite the club’s interest in the winger but he would eventually seal his move to Serie A.

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However, it was Arsenal who came closest to signing Neto when they nearly brought him to the Premier League in June 2017.

Portuguese newspaper A Bola reported that Arsenal had made an offer of £13.2m to Braga for Neto’s services.

Yet the Primeira Liga club are said to have told the Gunners they would not let their young star leave unless his £17.6m release clause was met.

Arsenal decided not to match that figure and instead cooled their interest, leaving Lazio, Monaco and Barcelona to fight it out for his signature.

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Now the club’s hierarchy may wish they’d have gone ahead with the deal, with Neto’s value now closer to £50m.

Not only that, but the tricky attacker has also laid on record his admiration for Arsenal, who he describes as his “favourite team”.

He previously told talkSPORT: “When I was a kid growing up watching English football my favourite team was Arsenal.

“No, Arsenal. Because with Arsene Wenger I thought besides winning trophies they played very good football.

“Now I’m with Wolverhampton and am very happy! Of course it’s the best club in England now.”

Neto has already beaten his Premier League goal and assist tally from last season, with 11 matches to spare.

Last term he hit just three goals and three assists in 29 outings and he already has five goals and five assists to his name this time around.

There is bound to be plenty of interest in the mercurial talent in the coming years with Neto also netting on his international debut for Portugal.

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