Manchester United has had a difficult season under both Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And the Red Devils’ midfield has played a part, with players like Fred, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba, and Scott McTominay blowing hot and cold. However, if they sign Wolves’ Ruben Neves, he may be Rangnick’s own Bruno Fernandes.
Sky Sports reported at the beginning of the month that Manchester United was interested in signing Neves.
Since joining Wolves from Porto, the Portugal international has been a steady performer in both the Championship and Premier League.
He delivered a midfield masterclass when Bruno Lage’s side defeated Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier this month, despite the fact that compatriot Joao Moutinho scored the game-winning goal.
And, with money certain to be pocketed from the loan exits of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, United are open to adding to their squad.
As a result, a trade for Neves isn’t out of the question.
And, if United can capture Portugal international, he has the potential to be as game-changing as Fernandes.
Solskjaer considered buying the 27-year-old from Sporting Lisbon during the 2019 summer transfer window.
Fernandes’ ability in goal made him an appealing target, but a trade was ultimately discarded due to the fact that he might be sloppy in position.
The Red Devils then made a U-turn months later.
United planned to sign Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Erling Haaland in January 2020, believing he’d be a vital addition at Old Trafford.
However, after missing out, United went on to sign Fernandes from Sporting.
Fernandes and his teammates drew a blank in their debut, falling to a goalless draw at home to Wolves.
Fernandes, on the other hand, wasted no time in introducing himself to his new fans, assisting Harry Maguire in a 2-0 win over Chelsea.
He was unplayable from that point on.
Fernandes’ goals and assists propelled United to third place in the Premier League, trailing only Liverpool and Manchester City.
Without him, the club would have been relegated to the Europa League. Or there will be no European football at all.
United can now repeat the feat with Neves.
He is the most expensive player on their midfield shortlist, costing £50 million. He’d undoubtedly be more expensive than Amadou Haidara or Boubacar Kamara.
Nonetheless, he’s worth it. Neves is a controller, a conductor, and a player who can make United tick.
Given the troubles with Fred, Matic, McTominay, Pogba, and Van de Beek this season, he has the potential to be just as revolutionary as Fernandes.
A transaction might be sped up if Van De Beek leaves on loan before the deadline, with Crystal Palace expressing interest.
Wolves manager Bruno Lage, on the other hand, recently insisted that Neves was critical to the club’s plans for the future at Molineux.
“He’s crucial; he’s a good player,” he remarked.
“We talked about him six weeks ago, and I urged him to be better every day, to mature defensively, and to recognize that he is a defensive midfielder.”
“These are the objectives. He understands that when defending, he must remember to work for the team and that when he has the ball, he must recognize the moment because it is the game with the ball that gives him the dimension he deserves.
“He’s doing that and coming in every day with the mindset of wanting to be better and have that dimension.”
“I asked him and a few other players, ‘Why aren’t you playing for your national team?’
“We must remember that while we defend, we must work for the team, but it is the game with the ball that adds another dimension.”
“The issue now is to keep going in that direction.” He performed admirably against Chelsea and Manchester United. He did exceptionally well in a variety of games with varying playing environments.
“I’m thrilled because he’s doing what I want and is a good player who can help the squad go to the next level.”