Manchester United are reportedly in fairly advanced talks to sign Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves this summer.
According to Eurosport’s Dean Jones, the Red Devils are prioritising a move for the Portugal international despite being heavily linked with a move for Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez.
“So it’s hard for me to assess that one. So I’d say because of the information I’ve had, and it all depends on your sources, I know for a fact that they do like Neves, that they’ve been working on it in the background, and it’s reasonably far down the line.”
Neves cultivated an enviable reputation for himself at the beginning of his career, becoming the youngest ever player to captain a Champions League game when he led Porto out against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
However, he’s arguably struggled to live up to his early promise. Despite playing a pivotal part in Wolves’ impressive recent success, the technically gifted midfielder has done little to show he’s capable of playing for a side as ambitious as United.
The Old Trafford outfit are thought to be in the market for a new holding midfielder in the current window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer determined to move away from the ‘McFred’ double pivot.
While Scott McTominay and Fred have performed admirably in recent times, providing a solid foundation for United to build from, their limited attributes make them unsuitable for long-term success.
Neither man is deemed capable of playing the holding role on their own, leading to Solskjaer searching for someone who is, allowing him to field a more attacking lineup in the future.
Having said that, Neves is not that man. The 24-year-old’s underlying numbers indicate McTominay and Fred outperformed the Wolves man last season, meaning he wouldn’t be an upgrade on United’s current options.
While the Portuguese midfielder recorded a pass accuracy of 84.3% in 2020/21, McTominay achieved 87.3% and Fred 88.2%. The Red Devils pair also outperformed Neves in terms of interceptions, with Fred managing 1.77 and McTominay’s 2.15 compared to the former Porto ace’s 1.55.
Therefore, United supporters should be worried at this latest revelation. The 20-time English champions have had a very successful transfer window so far, but bringing in Neves wouldn’t offer them the upgrade they so desperately need at the base of their engine room.