On the 31st of August 2017, Lazio completed a loan signing that was sure to raise some serious questions. For a €7.5m loan fee, plus a €7m obligation to purchase in the summer of 2019, the Biancocelesti signed Sporting Braga’s then 17-year-old forward Pedro Neto. Neto is a winger by trade and was, prior to his move to Lazio, already capped at both U17 and U18 level for Portugal. Alongside Neto, Lazio also signed midfielder Bruno Jordao on a similar deal but Neto would make up a bulk of the combined costs.
Last season, Pedro Neto did not play a competitive game for the Lazio first team but played ten times for the Primavera side, as Lazio’s youngsters were relegated to the second flight of the Italian youth football. Despite this, the youngster was beginning to show that he had qualities that could be well suited to first team football and that he was a bright prospect for the future of the club.
This season, Neto has made both his first-team debut for the club, playing 13 minutes against Novara in the Round of 16 of Coppa Italia, as well as making his league debut playing the final moments of Lazio’s 2-1 defeat to Juventus at the end of January. The Portuguese starlet has played just 20 minutes in total across 3 matches in all competitions for Lazio this season but, especially in this moment of crisis with forward suffering from injuries, he could be in for more. Neto is not in Lazio’s Europa League squad and is not eligible to play in the tournament until he is registered; leaving him to play a supporting role in Serie A and Coppa Italia for the rest of the season.
In an interview earlier this week, Neto revealed that he had turned down offers from Manchester United and Barcelona to join Lazio. He is, undeniably, a prospect of great talent; versatile in the sense he can play on either wing and a talented dribbler and finisher of the ball. Neto has a way to go before he is a first team starter for Lazio but appears to be one of the best youth talents the club has ownership of.
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