Erik ten Hag has reportedly told Manchester United chiefs to revive their interest in Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves this summer. And that means the Red Devils’ new boss might think he has no chance of landing Barcelona ace Frenkie de Jong.
Ten Hag took up his role as United manager following the end of the season and has been tasked with turning the club’s fortunes around to help them become a force in the Premier League once again. And the former Ajax boss will be looking to delve into the transfer market this summer to bolster his squad.
Ten Hag has been tipped to go after De Jong, who he managed for 18 months in Holland before the player decided to move to the Nou Camp. But Barca chiefs could be reluctant to allow the midfielder to leave.
De Jong has played 139 times for Barcelona over the last three seasons and has been a regular starter in their midfield. And with four years remaining on his contract, the Catalan giants may decide he has plenty to offer them in the years ahead.
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That would mean Ten Hag would be forced to turn his attentions elsewhere – and Neves could fit the bill as he has proved he has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.
Neves joined then-Championship side Wolves from Porto in 2017 at the age of 20 after the Black Country club shelled out £15.8million to prise him away from his homeland. No Championship team had ever spent more money on a player – but the fee proved to be a bargain.
Neves helped Wolves win the Championship title during his first season at Molineux, before playing a key role on their return to the Premier League as the club secured back-to-back seventh-place finishes. Wolves finished 13th in their third season back in the top flight and ended the most recent campaign in tenth place. So the 25-year-old may feel he has achieved everything he can at the club and could be keen to move on, despite the fact he still has two years remaining on his current deal.
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According to The Sun, United are on the verge of making a final push for Neves, with Wolves looking for around £50m for the ace. But Barcelona are said to be keen on signing him as well.
“The only thing I can tell you at the moment is that everyone knows what football is about, what our lives are about,” Neves said at the end of last season as he addressed his future. “Our career is really short and we need to take the opportunities we have. All of us have dreams and we need to live those dreams in a small space of time. Let’s see what happens – I cannot say too much about it.”
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