Arsenal are reportedly plotting a swoop for Wolves’ Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves, with Mikel Arteta keen on bolstering his squad after a difficult season.
According to The Times, Arsenal are working on a deal to secure the transfer of Portuguese international Ruben Neves from fellow Premier League outfit Wolves in the summer window.
Neves has been with Wolves since 2017, having arrived on a then-club record deal from FC Porto. The 24-year-old has been an ever-present in the middle of the park for the Midlands’ outfit ever since, playing a key role in their promotion back to the Premier League and establishing himself as one of the most reliable midfielders in the top-flight over the past three years.
Neves, to date, has racked up 176 appearances for Wolves, scoring 20 goals and setting up 16 more. And while he, along with Wolves, had a rather underwhelming 2020/21 campaign, the midfielder’s stock remains high as ever, with Arsenal now pushing to sign him up in the summer transfer window.
Arsenal are headed for a crucial summer after their failure to qualify for European football for the next season. Several players are expected to be on their way out while there will be incomings as well, as manager Mikel Arteta looks to build a team capable of taking the team back into the Premier League’s top four.
Midfield is one area where Arsenal are focusing and understandably so after Thomas Partey struggled in his debut season despite arriving amid much fanfare last summer. In addition, Granit Xhaka is being heavily linked with an exit amid interest from AS Roma whereas Dani Ceballos has departed following the expiry of his loan deal from Real Madrid.
Mohamed Elneny is an option for Arteta but the Egyptian is a squad player at best while his contract expires in a year as well. So, securing the signing of another central midfielder who can be a long-term partner for Partey at the Emirates would be a sensible move on Arsenal’s part. To that end, they had been linked with Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma in the past but seem to have shifted their attention to Neves now.
The 24-year-old is contracted with Wolves till the summer of 2023. Following the difficult campaign, though, there is the belief that the Black Country would be open to a sale as they look to continue the policy of bringing in talents from across Europe and developing them into valuable assets, as per the report.
It is even claimed that having valued him at €80 million a couple of years back, a deal could be done for half that valuation this summer owing to his contract status and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It now remains to be seen if Arsenal have the financial muscle to pull off the deal, although they are likely to have to offload some players before bringing in new players in the summer.