With Liverpool likely looking to step up their search for a goalkeeper signing this summer, links with Fiorentina stopper Neto have re-emerged.
Liverpool have shown interest in the 25-year-old, according to the player’s agent.
Stefano Castagna, speaking to Italian television channel Gazzetta TV, speculated on the future of the Brazilian goalkeeper, who sees his contract with Fiorentina expire at the end of the season.
“The only thing that is official is that Neto will not be staying in Florence,” Castagna claimed.
“Since February 1st, when it became possible to talk to other clubs, we’ve been evaluating offers that are interesting for the lad, in England, Germany and Spain in addition to Italy.
“One of those in England is Liverpool, and then there is a top Spanish club interested in him. Right now, the lad has to make a well pondered decision for his career.”
Naturally, Castagna has high hopes for Neto, and sought to fluff up his feathers somewhat, declaring: “He’s young and he’s grown a great deal, but even when he was 18 he was one of the best in Brazil.”
However, he did remain realistic about Neto’s first-team hopes at some of the clubs he has been linked with—Juventus are speculated as a potential destination for the goalkeeper, but he would likely find himself behind Italy No. 1 Gianluigi Buffon in Turin.
“If you decide to join a top club then it’s obvious you’re competing with other good goalkeepers.
“But if you join one of the top 10 clubs in Europe, then it’s an opportunity you’ve obviously got to fight for.”
Neto would be challenging Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet if he were to move to Merseyside in the summer, and there is cause to debate whether he would be much of an upgrade.
Neto’s rate of games per clean sheet (2.5) is slightly worse than Mignolet’s (2.3), and the Belgian has also conceded marginally less goals per game (0.96) than his Florence counterpart (1).
Linked with a move to Liverpool earlier this season, Neto received a rather unflattering appraisal from The Times writer Rory Smith:
Bit late to this, but if Liverpool's transfer committee have really recommended Fiorentina's Neto, they should all be sacked immediately.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) January 15, 2015
With Mignolet improving in form, it would suggest that Neto’s signing would more placate the expected departure of current No. 2 goalkeeper, Brad Jones.
If Liverpool are to sign a goalkeeper able to compete productively with Mignolet, Club Brugge’s Mathew Ryan, linked back in January, may be a wiser target than Neto.
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