Manchester United have been handed a boost in their long-term pursuit of Portuguese star Ruben Neves after a Wolves director admitted that they might have to sell the player.
However, it would appear that the Red Devils will face some stiff opposition for the 25 year old’s signature.
There have been reports of United’s interest over several transfer windows and Neves would be a popular choice with the fans, who have repeatedly called for the club to sign him. But the board have to date not pushed too hard, with Wolves also playing hardball, either pricing the player out of a move or refusing to negotiate completely.
But in an apparent softening of their stance, the club’s technical director Scott Sellars said this week (via The Mirror) “I think he has shown how happy he is here and that is something we as a club know as well.
“The ideal situation is that we want him to stay. I’ve spoken to him about it, but I am also realistic that when you have an outstanding player, the top clubs are going to come and see what the situation is. It will be discussed what is right for the club and certainly is something we will look at.”
Neves himself also hinted he could be on the move, saying after the last match of the season against Liverpool “If I go it would be really hard for me and my family.
“But, as I told you, we have dreams to live in a short space of time. And if anything happens, that’s why I was so emotional the last game at home because I don’t know how it’s going to be. If it was my last game it was really important.”
United are known to be prioritising central midfield signings this summer, with both Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic set to leave the club. This leaves just Scott McTominay, Fred and James Garner as options in the deeper midfield positions.
Neves would be a popular choice, but he has also been heavily linked with Arsenal and now Barcelona have thrown their hat into the ring.
According to Catalan outfit Sport, the Blaugrana have admitted defeat in their pursuit of Aurelien Tchouameni and have now turned their attentions to the Portuguese international.
“For the position of midfielder [head coach Xavi] has contacted Rúben Neves, the footballer chosen to compete with Sergio Busquets in the engine room.
“Neves is enthusiastic about joining the project and he knows what Xavi wants from him.”
Interestingly, United are also being heavily linked with a Barcelona midfielder, Frenkie de Jong. Whilst the pair are not like-for-like players, if Neves were to join Barça it would more than likely mean that they are more willing to part ways with the Dutchman, and conversely, if De Jong stays at the Camp Neu, the struggling Catalans may not have the funds to also compete for Neves.