Wolverhampton Wanderers’ January transfer window wasn’t anything to shout about.
Owners Fosun continue to tighten the purse-strings and Wolves failed to make a notable signing in this year’s winter market.
Bruno Lage has made no secret of the fact Wolves need new players, but the head coach was instead stripped of game-changing asset Adama Traore – who rejoined Barcelona on loan, with an option in the La Liga club’s favour.
Hayao Kawabe, Chiquinho and Jeung Sang-bin all joined Wolves, at a total cost of £4.5million, but only one of the trio is still at Molineux.
Kawabe and Jeung have been loaned out to Grasshoppers, whereas Chiquinho will be given four months to adapt to his new surroundings.
It’s the presence of another Portuguese player at Molineux this morning that matters more to Wolves supporters, many of whom are displeased with another dull deadline day.
The fact Ruben Neves will remain with Wolves until at least the end of the season is cause for celebration.
Neves is into his fifth season with Wolves now, and the ex-Porto midfielder has never been so important.
Last time out at Brentford, Neves netted a late winner to extend Wolves’ run to six matches without defeat – five of which have ended in victory.
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One of those wins came against Manchester United at Old Trafford, where Neves produced a dreamy performance in the so-called Theatre of Dreams.
The 24-year-old bossed his United counterparts, including compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, to guide Wolves to three points.
Just hours after his majestic performance in Manchester, it was claimed that United are looking to sign Neves.
The midfielder has been perennially linked with United since Wolves won promotion to the Premier League in 2018. But the gulf in class between Neves and those in the Red Devils’ engine room was so clear that Ralf Rangnick can’t be blamed for showing an interest.
Neves also reportedly has admirers at Arsenal, who tried but failed to sign a new midfielder in January.
Both United and Arsenal are direct rivals to Wolves at this moment in time, so a deal in this transfer window was never likely to be considered.
Neves, whose contract at Molineux runs out in 2024, is key to the club’s hopes of returning to Europe.
And Wolves will probably need to secure continental football to keep Neves beyond the summer.
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