The two Manchester clubs are set for another transfer battle this January, as the race to land Portuguese international Ruben Neves heats up.

As per reports from The Sun, Manchester United have joined reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the pursuit of Wolverhampton Wanderers star Ruben Neves.

A graduate of the FC Porto academy, Neves has made rapid strides in his burgeoning career and is widely regarded as one of the finest young midfielders in the game. So, it was a huge surprise when the 21-year old joined Wolves in last year, who were playing in the EFL Championship at the time, snubbing interest from a number of clubs in Europe, including Chelsea and Liverpool.

Having played a major role in their promotion to the Premier League, the Portuguese has continued in the same vein of form in the new season. So far in the 2018-19 term, Neves has netted and assisted one goal apiece in four games.

Blessed with great technical ability and impeccable vision, Neves has been likened to former Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo. And City manager Pep Guardiola is understood to be extremely intent on signing him when the transfer window opens in January.

Set to spark a transfer battle between United and City (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Set to spark a transfer battle between United and City (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

The current title holders were hoping to strengthen their midfield in the summer transfer window and were reportedly closing in on the signing Jorginho from Napoli. However, the Citizens were left red-faced in their pursuit of the midfielder, as he opted to join fellow Premier League rivals Chelsea instead.

City are believed to have extensively scouted the five-time capped Portuguese international and Guardiola wants to act on the interest by making a move for the £60 million-rated midfielder, when the winter window opens.

However, their neighbours and arch-rivals and neighbours Manchester United are also in the running to land the 21-year old. United boss Jose Mourinho is believed to be a great admirer of the Wolves’ star and has followed his progress closely. The pair also happen to share the same agent – Jorge Mendes.

The former Chelsea manager held back on making a move for Neves, in order to see how he coped with the rigours of the Premier League. And now, having been hugely impressed by the way the 21-year old has stepped up in the top-flight, Mourinho wants to bring him to Old Trafford.

United beat City to the signing of Alexis last January (Photo courtesy - Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

United beat City to the signing of Alexis last January (Photo courtesy – Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Portuguese tactician wanted to move in on his compatriot next summer, but with City set to act in the winter window, he is set to instruct United to launch a bid for Neves in four months’ time. That would see a repeat of last winter’s battle between the two Mancunian outfits for Alexis Sanchez, who eventually joined United.

Neves signed a new contract with Wolves in July earlier this year, extending his stay at the Molineux till the summer of 2023. And given the deep pockets of the club’s Chinese owners, they will not be looking to cash in on their prized asset anytime soon.

Given how integral Neves is for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, a sale midway through their return season to the Premier League is extremely unlikely. It would seem like United and City will have to wait till the summer to resume their transfer war for the 21-year old.

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