Bruno Lage has suggested Manchester United might have to match the Premier League’s transfer record to sign Ruben Neves in the summer.
United have long been admirers of Neves, 25, and reports today suggest the Wolverhampton Wanderers playmaker is a top target for Erik ten Hag, who is expected to be appointed as Ralf Rangnick’s replacement in the Old Trafford dugout. Neves has also been linked with Barcelona and Arsenal in recent months.
Wolves are looking to extend Neves’ contract, which expires in 2024, but Lage accepts that his talisman could move on at the end of the season. The Wolves boss believes Neves could be worth up to £100million, which would equal the British record fee Manchester City paid Aston Villa to sign Jack Grealish last year.
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“I don’t know if it’s Man Utd or other teams, what I know is we have a special player here with us,” said Lage. “What he is doing this season is very good. I think also the way we play, he can show a better Ruben, and also the way he plays puts our team on a different level.
“When you have that player, the best thing to do is improve his salary and years of contract. But who knows, when you have a top player like him in that specific position, that can defend and attack, and is a top professional and a great man, the big teams are there with £100million to buy these kinds of players.”
The biggest fee Wolves have ever received for a player remains the £41million Liverpool paid for Diogo Jota in 2020, but that record will be shattered if Neves departs Molineux this year. While Lage would rather keep Neves and build his team around him, he admits an astronomical sum of money could tempt Wolves into a sale.
“I would have preferred to remain with Joao Felix in Benfica, but 120 million euros came and he left,” added Lage. “It depends on the strategy of Wolves also, that’s why it was so hard to find players in the last two transfer windows because we want to find the best players at the right price and the right age to help us, then after two or three years they can give us economical profit. It’s not just about Wolves, in these days which club can refuse a proposal of 80, 90 or 100 million pounds? Five or six.”