Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool have made contact with FC Porto to discuss a possible move for midfielder Ruben Neves.
According to a report in Portuguese publication A Bola, the 20-year-old midfielder could be Porto’s next big export this summer after striker Andre Silva, who recently signed for AC Milan and the report states Neves’ next destination is likely to be the English top flight.
Liverpool and Chelsea are the two major clubs that are said to be interested in acquiring his services and they have reportedly made contact with Porto to discuss a possible move. According to The Sun, a fee of around £30 million should be enough to convince the Dragoes to part with him.
Liverpool have kept an eye on him for a while now and was heavily linked with him last summer. Lucas Leiva is likely to leave this summer after 10 seasons at the club, while Marko Grujic wasn’t quite able to cut it after a difficult first season at the club, hampered by injury.
James Milner is a natural center midfielder, but until the Reds sign a proper left-back, Klopp will likely continue playing him as a fullback. That leaves the the German with Jordan Henderson and Emre Can and injuries to both could spell trouble unless they have a top class replacement.
They are also rumoured to be interested in Southampton’s Dusan Tadic and are even said to be tabled an offer for Real Madrid wonderkid Marco Asensio. However, Neves’ acquisition might arguably be a more important one that that of the aforementioned duo.
Chelsea, despite winning the Premier League, are in the hunt for reinforcements. The likes of Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have failed to make an impact this season, while Nemanja Matic’s future is surrounded by uncertainty amidst interest from Manchester United.
Cesc Fabregas, for all his attacking genius, has a lot of improving to do with regard to his defensive contribution and N’golo Kante, the PFA Player Of The Year, cannot be used for every game and will also need rest, however unlikely it may seem.
In their pursuit for a midfielder who could give competition to Kante and Matic and also serve as adequate replacements, they have been linked with Idrissa Gueye of Everton and Tiemoué Bakayoko of Ligue 1 Champions AS Monaco.
With both teams set to return to UEFA Champions League, they will be desperate to go as far as possible and perhaps more importantly, try and remain regular participants. One extra competition means more games and the requirement of more talented and capable players.
Neves, who recently turned 20, has already made 95 appearances for both club and country. He has made 93 of those appearances for Porto, which include 18 Champions League appearances over the course of the past 3 seasons so needless to say, he is quite experienced for his age.
Primarily a defensive midfielder, he can play in the center of midfield as well and has won plaudits for his passing, technical ability and vision. He is known for his tireless running, pace, work ethic and his ability to initiate attacks from deep in his own half.
In October 2015, at 18 years and 3 months, he became the youngest player to start a Champions League game as Captain. However, this past campaign under the management of Nuno Santo, was a disappointing one for the youngster, as he only made 18 appearances the entire season.
However, that would have only made his desire to leave the club stronger and that could be good news for any interested suitors. His current contract runs till the summer of 2019 and it is unlikely he will stay on at the club after the kind of season he recently had.
He is currently with Portugal’s U21 squad as they prepare for the upcoming U21 European Championships in Poland. So it unlikely that he will shift his focus away from his national duties until they got knocked out of the competition. However, that wouldn’t stop Chelsea, Liverpool or anyone else from discussing a deal with Porto and it remains to be seen where the prodigious youngster eventually decides to leave to after 12 years with the Dragons.