According to Catalan publication SPORT, Barcelona have dealt with a major setback in their attempts to offload out-of-favour goalkeeper Neto Murara. The 32-year-old Brazilian has decided not to leave the club this summer and see out his contract with the Blaugrana which expires next year.
Neto joined Barcelona from fellow La Liga club Valencia in the summer of 2019, coming in as a replacement for Jasper Cillessen, who moved the other way. However, he has spent his entire time at Barcelona in the shadows of first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Despite completing three seasons with the Blaugrana, Neto has made just 21 appearances for the club, keeping seven clean sheets.
Indeed, Neto has received minutes on the pitch only when ter Stegen has been out injured or featured in the odd cup matches now and then. The 32-year-old played only four games during the 2021/22 campaign. Having grown frustrated with his lack of game-time, the former Juventus man had been pushing for an exit from Camp Nou for quite some time now.
Barcelona, for their part, have been willing to offload Neto and are ready to accept any proposal that would come in for him. The Blaugrana need to down their wage bill to create space for the new arrivals this summer, and Neto’s salary is seen as a major burden they want to get rid of.
There had been murmurs of a summer move to Arsenal, but things have gone quiet on that front. The Brazilian is attracting interest from clubs back in his homeland, while Serie A giants Lazio are also said to be keen on signing the 32-year-old custodian.
But, in a shock twist, Neto has decided not to leave Barcelona. Indeed, as per the report, the former Juventus ace is now planning to see out the rest of his contract, which expires in 2023, before seeking new pastures. The goalkeeper is understood to have made his intentions known to the club and his agents, leaving Barcelona in a difficult position.
Barcelona had been planning for the new season with ter Stegen as their No. 1 and academy product Inaki Pena as the backup. The La Masia graduate had done well on loan at Galatasaray and was set to be drafted into the first-team setup. But, with Neto now performing a major U-turn, it remains to be seen how Barcelona decide to deal with the situation.
Unilateral termination of the Brazilian’s contract is an option, as per the report. And it will be interesting to see if Barcelona resort to those measures to part ways with the goalkeeper.