Ruben Neves transfer links to Liverpool make sense after Pep Lijnders admission

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has been linked with Liverpool as the transfer window enters its final week


For a number of reasons, there is little surprise to see Liverpool named in connection to a potential transfer for Ruben Neves.


The Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder has been linked with the Reds in recent days as the online transfer rumour mill continued to churn out its content over the weekend.


It’s unclear exactly where the initial report from the last few days has come from, but recent comments made in an interview with The Times have inevitably led to increased speculation surrounding the Portugal international’s future.


Neves said: “One of the things I miss most is the Champions League, it’s the best competition in the world to play in. So let’s try to achieve that. If you ask me at the end of last season [about my future] I would have said to you, ‘I will leave’ but I’m still here, so we never know what’s going to happen. We will see.”


The anticipation has been, for some time now at Wolves, that Neves’ Molineux career was living on borrowed time. Reports as far back as the summer of 2021 suggested there was an expectation the former Porto star would be leaving.


At the age of 25, Neves is about to approach his best years and the desire for Champions League football is typical motivation for those at clubs without it, so expect the speculation to be ramped up before Thursday’s 11pm deadline.


For Wolves boss Bruno Lage, however, he is very much planning for the future with his influential midfield general in the side, saying: “I can confirm I’m 99% sure Ruben Neves will stay at Wolverhampton this summer. He’s happy here and committed.”


The Portuguese influence has grown steadily at Anfield in recent years. From speakers of the language to those whose talents have been developed in the nation’s Primeira Liga; Portugal is an area Liverpool are increasingly looking towards for their ongoing evolution under Jurgen Klopp.


Liverpool could eventually pay a combined sum of £135m to Porto and Benfica for Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, while Fabio Carvalho is currently a Portugal Under-21 international. Diogo Jota – the last player to move to Merseyside from Wolves – is an emerging star of the Selecao national side, while Brazil trio Fabinho, Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino have helped the Portuguese-speaking members of the squad settle quicker with their help over the language barrier.


Sporting director Julian Ward has an extensive contacts book for the area which stems from his time as scout for the country at Manchester City and his work for the national team itself under Carlos Queiro


Put simply, Liverpool have enough contacts across Portuguese football – and within their own ranks with regards to Jota – to get an in-depth character report if they are seriously thinking of approaching Wolves this wee


Liverpool also enjoy an excellent relationship with the Portuguese agency Gestifute, who represent Neves. The club have dealt extensively with Jorge Mendes’ organisation in recent years, which included conversations around Fabinho and Jota’s respective signings and subsequent contract extensions.k.z.


Perhaps the most glaring reason for why Neves is being named as a potential solver to Liverpool‘s midfield problems, however, is assistant manager Pep Lijnders’ long-term admiration for a player he watched come through the ranks at the biggest club in Portugal during his own eight-year stint at Porto.


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