Wolverhampton Wanderers star Ruben Neves has failed to rule out a potential move away from Molineux amid interest from Liverpool.
The Lowdown: Premier League interest
According to The Mirror, the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have shown interest in the 25-year-old this summer. As a result, a move away from the Old Gold appeared ever more likely for the Portugal international, who joined the club in 2017.
However, with the transfer deadline rapidly approaching, Neves still remains at Molineux, where he had appeared to wave goodbye to the Wolves faithful after their final home game of last season in May.
The Latest: Neves’ interview
According to a recent report by 90min, Liverpool scouts have produced positive reports about Neves after narrowing down a list of potential transfer targets as Jurgen Klopp eyes a new midfield signing before Thursday night’s deadline.
Wolves are keen to keep hold of their midfielder, in the hope that he will sign a new deal with the club. However, in a weekend interview, Neves appears to have thrown his Old Gold future into doubt, failing to rule out a possible exit from the Black Country.
As quoted by The Times, he claimed: “Well, let’s see what happens. I try to focus 100% on my football and I had a good start to the season but we need results now. If you ask me at the end of last season I would have said to you, ‘I will leave’ but I’m still here, so we never know what’s going to happen.”
Neves then added: “One of the things I miss most is the Champions League, it’s the best competition in the world to play in. So let’s try to achieve that.”
The Verdict: Would be a huge loss
Hailed as ‘outstanding’ by The Athletic’s Tim Spiers, Neves’ departure would certainly leave a gaping void in Bruno Lage’s midfield.
As per FBRef, compared with positional peers across Europe over the past year, the 25-year-old ranks in the 88th percentile for passes attempted, the 82nd percentile for clearances and the 81st percentile for non-penalty goals and shots total.
This marks him out to have a wide array of midfield talents – the work rate to prevent danger for his team, the composure to keep the play ticking over and the drive to get into the final third and make an impact in front of goal.
Is Neves staying?
Despite these tangible attributes, Neves’ absence will be most noticeable due to his consistency and reliability. The midfielder has played at least 33 Premier League games in each of the last four seasons, featuring in a further 42 matches during his first season at the club when they were in the Championship.
Therefore, if Liverpool do step up their interest in the Wolves maestro, Lage should do everything that he can to try and keep Neves at the club, if the lure of Champions League doesn’t prove too strong for the 25-year-old to resist.
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