Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves has fuelled the fire on rumours linking him with a transfer to Barcelona.
The metronomic midfield presence has been a standout star in England for the West Midlands club since joining from Porto in 2017, establishing himself as an elite tempo-setter on the Premier League circuit.
Such form has naturally seen his name thrust into the limelight with some of Europe’s leading lights, including Barcelona. The Catalan club have long had a craving for an elegant midfield ball-player, and Neves certainly fits the archetype.
The 25-year-old currently has two years left on his contract at the Molineux, but fans will be concerned about his latest comments. Although he hasn’t brazenly put himself in the shop window, even talking about another club will set alarm bells racing.
“Who wouldn’t want to try Barcelona?” he told Canal 11.
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“I think it’s a common question for all players. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. Of course, it’s always a privilege for me to be associated with clubs of this calibre.
“I’m going to do my job here [at Wolves] and I’m sure I have people working with me. I trust these people a lot for these situations. I have to focus as much as I can on Wolves. Making a good time here, things will come naturally.”
Barca could be in the market for a new deep-lying midfielder next summer with Sergio Busquets now into the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou. The Catalan legend will be 35 by the time the summer window opens in 2023, so Xavi may be tempted to seek a fresh model.
Neves is as tidy and intelligent as they come in possession. Able to hog the ball, thread passes and orbit the centre circle with grace, he has all the attributes of a Barca midfielder. Whether Xavi will entertain an offer for him after such a a summer of splurging this year, though, remains to be seen.