Ruben Neves has played an integral role in Wolves’ resurgence this season after a poor 20/21 campaign under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo. The Midlands club finished 13th last time out but they’re currently eighth in the Premier League table after an encouraging first season under Bruno Lage.
Neves has been instrumental in their rise and his stellar performances in midfield have seen him linked with a host of clubs including Arsenal. The north Londoners will need to strengthen their squad ahead of a return to European football next season and the middle of the park is one area it’s believed that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta would like more options and depth.
Whilst Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are Arteta’s preferred partnership, Neves possesses the quality to break that particular axis. The 25-year-old is a defensive midfielder by trade but is also adept at using his passing range and vision to start attacks for Lage’s side.
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After the 4-0 win over Watford in March the Wolves boss said: “What I know is we have a special player here with us, What he is doing this season is very good. I think also the way we play, he can show a better Ruben, and also the way he plays puts our team on a different level.”
Neves joined Wolves from Portuguese giants Porto in the summer of 2017, whilst the Midlands club were still in the Championship. He seamlessly made the transition to English football; making 42 appearances for Wanderers that season as they romped to promotion and the title.
His stock has continued to rise in the Premier League; helping the club secure back-to-back seventh placed finishes in their first two campaigns back amongst the elite. Neves has been a fundamental part of Wolves’ progression over the last five seasons and as such his value to the club has grown immensely.
When asked about the midfielder’s future at Molineux amid interest from other clubs Lage said: “When you have that player, the best thing to do is improve his salary and years of contract. But who knows, when you have a top player like him in that specific position, that can defend and attack, and is a top professional and a great man, the big teams are there with £100million to buy these kinds of players.”
The Wolves boss believes that Neves is happy at Molineux but conceded that his situation could change if a bid for his services suited the club and the player. He said: “We need to be aware of everything, anything can happen, not just with Ruben but with any position.
“He’s an important player but, like I said, we need to wait for an offer and we need to wait to understand what will really happen. Something that is good for the club, good for the player, and then we will make a decision. If you ask me if I want to work with Ruben, yes. If you ask the player if he wants to work for me, for sure, he will say yes. But this is football and you never know what can happen the next day.”