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Transfer Talk: Barca target Neves ready to move on from Molineux
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Adam Drury
Ruben Neves could leave Wolves this summer
Ruben Neves could leave Wolves this summer

Of all the midfielders on the market this summer, Ruben Neves is one of the most attainable.

Neves has been at Wolves for six seasons, winning promotion from the Championship, playing in Europe and reaching an FA Cup semi-final.

He will not want to wait any longer to ply his trade in the Champions League again, though, and will be allowed to leave the West Midlanders if a good offer comes in.

We take a look at what the future holds for the Molineux maestro.

False alarm

Assuming Neves will leave Wolves this summer may be premature, however, considering that he waved goodbye to supporters this time last year, too.

Speaking before the end of the 2021-22 campaign, the midfielder said: "Our career is really short and we need to take the opportunities we have. Let's see what happens. I cannot say too much about it."

A move never materialized — but the Portuguese international is clearly intent on it happening this time around.

Neves blew kisses to the fans and embraced all of his team-mates after Wolves' last home game of the season against Everton even though an exit does not seem to be lined up yet.

Pass master

Ruben Neves has dominated Wolves' midfield this season
Ruben Neves has dominated Wolves' midfield this season

Neves plays almost exclusively in a deep midfield role, looking to create from a position where he has more time on the ball.

The 26-year-old takes risks, too. While he sits fifth for passes attempted in the Premier League this season, he ranks miles clear for long passes attempted (363) and completed (213).

That ability to strike the ball purely also shows in his shooting numbers.

He sits fourth for shots of all central midfielders and second for shots outside the box, behind Martin Odegaard. He has only scored with two of those efforts but has a history for spectacular goals during his time at Molineux.

Xavi doubts

But Neves' long-range passing ability does not necessarily fit with the club that is reportedly most interested in signing him.

Barcelona are supposedly the Porto academy graduate's most likely destination this summer, with the exit of Sergio Busquets opening up a vacancy at the base of the Catalans' midfield.

Those stories seem to be driven by agent Jorge Mendes, who has the ear of Camp Nou chiefs, but Barca boss Xavi is reportedly less than convinced — and it is not difficult to see why.

Whereas Busquets kept the LaLiga champions ticking with his short passing and ability to control the tempo of games, Neves is more expansive.

Ruben Neves has put up some impressive numbers for Wolves
Ruben Neves has put up some impressive numbers for Wolves

Manchester beckons

If a move to Barca does not happen, switching to another Premier League team appears most likely.

Manchester City have reportedly shown interest but like with the Blaugrana, Neves does not fit the profile of their holding midfielder.

Manchester United, however, could be a decent fit.

Erik ten Hag's side look to use the pace and skill of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes on the counter-attack as much as possible and Neves' passing range could suit those situations nicely.


Premier LeagueWolverhampton WanderersBarcelonaRuben NevesLaLiga
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