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Newcastle could secure “incredible” deal with Ruben Neves signing

The January transfer window is now in full swing although Newcastle United are yet to strengthen their ranks to aid in the push for Champions League qualification, with manager Eddie Howe likely keen to bolster his midfield options, in particular.

Journalist Craig Hope claimed at the end of last month that a new recruit in that department had become something of a “priority” for the Magpies, particularly after having lost Jonjo Shelvey to injury of late.

Amid that talk, Hope – alongside Simon Jones for the Daily Mail – has now revealed that one potential solution to that problem could be Wolverhampton Wanderers captain, Ruben Neves, with the Tynesiders said to be ‘monitoring’ the Portugal international at present.

The report suggests that there is yet to have been contact regarding a move for the 25-year-old, although the playmaker is certainly a player on the club’s potential list of targets, as he currently faces an uncertain future at Molineux with just 18 months remaining on his deal.

The former FC Porto star had been heavily linked with an exit over the summer and even admitted that he thought he would depart the Midlands side, only to have since remained a crucial asset for the relegation-threatened this season after starting 18 Premier League games thus far.

Should the northeast side turn to Neves – who was valued at around £50m a few months ago – it could well prove a particularly astute piece of business for Howe and co, with the “incredible” talent, as lauded by teammate Hugo Bueno, already thriving in the top-flight.

The £50k-per-week maestro has already scored four goals from his defensive midfield berth so far this season as a sign of his attacking prowess, while he also offers an effective screen in front of the back four as he ranks sixth in the division for tackles made, as well as in the top 15% in Europe among those in his position for interceptions made.

It is the 37-cap machine’s penchant for the spectacular that has particularly caught the eye during his stint in English football, however, with half of his league goals this season having come from outside the box as a marker of his long-range finishing prowess.

That trait has also earned notable comparisons to Manchester United icon Paul Scholes from pundit Paul Parker, with the former England international also simply a master at lashing the ball into the back of the net from distance, memorably scoring for the Red Devils away at Villa Park back in 2006, while also scoring in a vital 1-0 win over Barcelona in 2008 – among many other moments of genius.

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A player whom Spanish legend Xavi Hernandez lauded as the “best central midfielder” of the last 15 or 20 years, Scholes enjoyed a truly stellar career at Old Trafford, racking up 153 goals and 75 assists in 714 games and winning 11 league titles.

To be likened to such an immense figure in Premier League history is a testament to Neves’ quality, with that set to be just another reason for why Newcastle should look to secure the latter man’s services either this month or at the end of the season.