Declan Rice for £90 million? No chance. That’s a fee Manchester United must avoid paying at all costs.
We wrote at the start of this month that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves should be United’s top midfield target instead.
Neves has Premier League and international experience, the right quality, and he is still just 24.
Now The Athletic report Neves will be allowed to leave Wolves for just £35 million this summer.
Wolves reportedly want to sell Neves to fund their rebuild, with manager Nuno Santo leaving and set to be replaced by ex-Benfica boss Bruno Lage.
United have been linked to Neves before. The Mail reported in 2018 that he was a target, but he would have cost £60 million.
Neves at £35 million is a deal which is simply too good to turn down. 90Min.com reported last month that United are still keen on the Portugal international.
It would be smart for United to move quickly, as there will be heavy competition for Neves at this price. He is in the Portugal squad for the Euros and his price could increase if he features prominently.
Wolves cashed in on Diogo Jota last summer and so their plans to allow Neves to leave now is not surprising, but the discount price is.
Neves is a central midfielder who can break up play and dictate games. He offers composure on the ball often lacking with Fred and Scott McTominay.
Data from FBRef.com shows Neves made 66 successful tackles this past season, the fourth highest of all Premier League midfielders.
He ranks inside the top eight per cent of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for total passing distance accumulated this season.
His ability to break up play often leads to attacks. He also ranks in the top eight per cent for his defensive actions leading to shot attempts.
Neves is a player who needs a new challenge, and United can provide it. Put him in a team with the likes of Paul Pogba and countryman Bruno Fernandes, and he will reach a new level.
If United were not serious about signing Neves, then they now should be. £35 million is a bargain fee which still allows plenty left over to strike other deals.
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