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Who Is This £17.5m Forward That Arsenal Are Trying To Sign? Everything You Need To Know

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Pedro Neto (Jersey No. 20)

Scout Report – Pedro Neto

According to Portuguese outlet A Bola, Arsenal are leading the race to sign youngster Pedro Neto from SC Braga despite strong interest from Manchester United and Barcelona.

The 17-year old had been strongly pursued by United and Barca, but the Gunners have made a late swoop and are close to activating the player’s £17.5million release clause, after having a £13million bid rejected. Barcelona too are believed to be preparing an offer of their own, for the youngster who has been earmarked as a future star by United manager Jose Mourinho.

With such peaked interest from three European heavyweights in a player so young, let’s take a closer look at who exactly Pedro Neto is and what makes him a special talent.

Footballing Background

Born in Viana Do Castelo, Portugal, on March 9 2000, Neto began his footballing journey with local club SC Vianense in 2008 as an 8-year old. After two years, he moved on to join Persepctiva em Jogo, with whom he stayed for three years, before finally joining Braga in 2013.

His rise through the youth ranks at the academy was rapid as he impressed the people at the club with his explosive talent. In 2015, after being promoted to the Braga Juvenis team, he was sent out on loan to Palmeiras. Upon his return, Neto was made a part of the Braga U-19 side ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

His impressive run for the U-19 side where he scored goals in plenty, saw him earn a call-up to the Braga B team towards the fag-end of the season, and he made his debut for them on May 7 this year against Porto B. His career took a further boost when he was promoted to the senior team the following week. He made an immediate impact, scoring just 9 minutes into his debut for Braga, against Nacional and had another impressive cameo in the final game of the season against Tondela.

Following his breakthrough, Neto signed his first professional contract with Braga, which includes a £17.5million release clause. He has represented the Portugal U-17 and the U-18 side so far and has impressed in his international outings too.

Style of Play

A winger by trade, who can play on either flank, Neto has made waves for his blistering pace and dribbling abilities and has been compared to Bernardo Silva of Manchester City in the Portuguese footballing circles. What has impressed many around the club, is Neto’s goal-scoring exploits for the Braga youth and reserve set-ups at such a young age.

Primarily left-footed, Neto is at his devastating best when deployed on the right flank, allowing him to cut in on his stronger foot to great effect. What makes him special is his ability to beat his man with pace and the way he does it with utmost ease and great control over the ball. Cool and composed in one on one situations, the 17-year old has shown confidence that belies his age.

He is physically small in stature, but uses his low centre of gravity to twist and turn past players in tight spaces and his technical ability is something that has caught the eyes of many. His commitment and willingness to put in the hard yards defensively is another strong facet of his game, that makes him a special talent at such a tender age.

What Does The Future Hold?

Neto, at 17, has attracted so much interest, but a big move at this point of time may be a little too soon for him. With Braga, he stood a chance of playing first team football, which is very unlikely to happen with the European giants that are monitoring him.

However, with so many big clubs circling around for his signature, Braga will have a tough job in keeping their crowned jewel at the club. But the fact that they will be getting great value in terms of his release clause, should ease the blow to an extent.