Ruben Neves has played an integral part 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 are currently eighth in the Premier League after an encouraging first season under Bruno Lage.
Neves was instrumental in their rise to fame and his excellence in midfield has linked him with a multitude of clubs including Arsenal. The north Londoners need to strengthen their squad ahead of a return to European football next season and the center of the park is an area where Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is believed to want more options and depth.
While Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are Arteta’s preferred partnership, Neves possesses the quality to break through that particular axis. The 25-year-old is a defensive midfielder by nature but can also use his passing range and vision to launch attacks for Lage’s side.
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After beating Watford 4-0 in March, the Wolves boss said: “What I do know is that we have a special player with us here. What he’s doing this season is very good. I also think the way we play, he can show a better Ruben and also the way he plays takes our team to another level.”
Neves joined Wolves from Portuguese giants Porto in the summer of 2017 while the Midlands club were still in the league. The transition to English football he managed seamlessly; He made 42 appearances for Wanderers that season as they rose to promotion and the title.
Its stock has continued to rise in the Premier League; Help the club finish seventh in the Elite for the first two campaigns in a row. Neves has been an integral part of Wolves’ progress over the past five seasons and as such his value to the club has grown immensely.
Asked about the midfielder’s future at Molineux amid interest from other clubs, Lage said: “If you have this player, the best thing is to improve his salary and contract years. But who knows, when you have a top player like him in that particular position, who can defend and attack and is a top professional and a great man, the big £100m teams are there to support those types of players to buy.
The Wolves boss believes Neves is happy at Molineux but admitted his situation could change if an offer for his services was right for the club and the player. He said: “We have to be clear about everything, anything can happen, not just with Ruben but in any position.
“He’s an important player but like I said we have to wait for an offer and we have to wait until we understand what’s really going to happen. Something that’s good for the club, good for the player and then we’ll make a decision. If you ask me to work with Ruben, yes. If you ask the player if he would like to work for me, he will surely say yes. But this is football and you never know what can happen the next day.”