Liverpool could land Jurgen Klopp his ideal backup to Fabinho in Wolves star Ruben Neves.
What’s the story?
According to The Athletic, the 24-year-old midfielder is available for around £35 million this summer as the Midlands outfit prepare for life without Nuno Espirito Santo.
Although the report doesn’t mention the interest of any clubs, in particular, the Reds have been linked with a move for Neves in the past after assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders coached the Portugal international at Porto.
Liverpool suffered from significant injuries to many of their star players throughout 2020/21 but were particularly impacted at centre-back.
Season-ending issues to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced defensive midfielder Fabinho to play in the heart of defence on many occasions throughout the recently concluded campaign, and although he coped admirably in his makeshift role, the rest of the team suffered.
His absence from the base of the Liverpool engine room left the more attack-minded Thiago exposed, meaning Klopp’s charges were often overrun in the middle of the park, especially with Jordan Henderson missing game time too.
The lack of midfield numbers was an issue for Liverpool, something that could worsen due to the departure of Gini Wijnaldum, and the arrival of Neves could ensure that issue of a lack of options doesn’t arise again.
He’s been a revelation since arriving in English football, firing Wolves to promotion in his first campaign before becoming a pivotal part of two consecutive seventh-place finishes a run to the Europa League quarter-finals, earning praise from several pundits, including Jamie Redknapp.
“It’s a magnificent pass; he’s a terrific player,’ Redknapp said on Sky Sports (via the Daily Mail) after a particularly impressive performance against Everton. “I’m such a fan of Neves and the way he can just control the midfield.
“He can defend, he can attack, he’s so talented. He can do it at Wolves, but I think he’s going right to the top of the game; it’s effortless for him.”
Klopp will be desperate to add some strength in depth to his relatively thin Liverpool squad this summer in order to mount a title charge, and bringing in Neves to bolster the ranks would be a masterclass from the director of football Michael Edwards.
The £45m-rated (as per Transfermarkt) maestro would take the Reds to another level and could be crucial in their bid to regain their top-flight crown.