NUFC want Neves but winter deal unlikely

Journalist Craig Hope has claimed that Newcastle United are keen on a transfer for Ruben Neves but he might not be available this winter and possibly even in the summer.

What’s the word?

With a spot in the Champions League up for grabs and potentially a league title to even challenge for (depending on who you ask), Eddie Howe and co may well feel as though some key transfers are needed this winter.

The likes of Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been linked with the Magpies aiming to upgrade their options in the middle of the park but it seems as though they’re also keen on Neves.

Indeed, while speaking on the True Faith NUFC podcast, Hope stated that the Wolves player is ‘on the list’ but his contractual situation may rule out a move any time soon.

He explained: “Neves is absolutely on the list. Like I said, it’s a long list but he is on there. He is someone whose situation they are monitoring.

“Now he’s got 18 months to run on his contract. The problem there to a degree is that there’s a deal to be done, I think Newcastle would be absolutely interested to move on it. The issue is I don’t think there’s necessarily a deal to be done in January, maybe not even in the summer.

He concluded: “I wouldn’t massively expect something to happen there. But nonetheless, the people I’d spoken to said, he is one they like, he is one they watch, and he’s one that they’re keeping very, very close tabs on.”

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Upgrade needed?

It’s not hard to see why Newcastle might be keen on bringing Neves to St James’ Park this winter. After all, still only 25 years of age, the midfielder has a wealth of experience having played 236 times for Wolves and nearly 100 times for Porto before that.

If he was to come in, he could potentially replace Sean Longstaff in the middle of the park. Seeing as Neves has averaged a 6.98 WhoScored player rating per game in the league this season – while the NUFC man is down at 6.64 – he could be a decent upgrade.

However, as pointed out by Hope, the Portgual international won’t see his contract expire until the summer of 2024. That means, so long as Wolves are prepared to risk him leaving for free, they have no need to sell any time soon.