Liverpool derail Barcelona bid for ‘outstanding’ midfield signing to tee up Diogo Jota, Wolves reunion

Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota

Liverpool are not backing down in the battle to sign Ruben Neves from Wolves, despite an increasing confidence from Barcelona that the midfielder will end up in La Liga.

That’s according to Football Insider, which claims Liverpool have a ‘concrete’ interest in Neves thanks to his ‘outstanding’ range of passing and a belief that he could ‘seamlessly’ slot into Jurgen Klopp’s system.

Neves has become a major target for Barcelona, who are confident of completing the transfer. However, if they cannot fund it, then Liverpool will be waiting to pounce.

According to the report, Wolves – despite surprise links with Ansu Fati – are not interested in entertaining the idea of part-exchange deals with Barcelona, who may otherwise struggle to afford their asking price.

Despite Neves approaching the final year of his contract at Molineux, Wolves would still want to receive a substantial transfer fee in order to let their prize asset leave.

Thus, claims that he has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona might mean nothing if the two clubs can’t meet in the middle.

In turn, Liverpool are on alert to hijack the deal for Neves, who has proven himself in the Premier League.

Liverpool are looking to rebuild their midfield this summer. They have already confirmed that James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo will be leaving the club.

Their marquee midfield target appears to be Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister. But given the amount of departures, one big signing might not be enough.

Therefore, they are retaining their interest in Neves, who is nearing the prime of his career at the age of 26.

Coming to their aid could be Neves’ agent Jorge Mendes, who already helped Liverpool to sign Diogo Jota from Wolves in 2020. Fabinho and Darwin Nunez are also Mendes clients.

Perhaps Neves could be the next one to land at Liverpool. They would have to work hard to convince him they are a better option than Barcelona, though.

Ruben Neves ready to step up to European level again

After Wolves’ last home game of the season, which was a 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday, Neves confessed he has a desire to challenge himself in the Champions League.

“Nothing has happened yet but it’s a hard decision to make because I love it here. Me and family feel at home,” he told Sky Sports.

“Let’s see what’s going to happen. I always say the same thing: I truly love to be here. But I never hide that I want to play Champions League football.

“In football you need to go for your main goals and that will be a massive decision for me and my family.

“If this was my last game here I really enjoyed it and I’m very thankful to everyone for the last six seasons.”

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Liverpool are unlikely to be in the Champions League next season, but have at least nailed down a spot in the Europa League and will be looking to break back into the top four next season.

On the same day as Neves’ comments, Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui – who is reportedly considering his own future – sent a reminder about the Portugal international’s contract status.

“I’m very happy with Ruben because he is our player,” Lopetegui said. “He’s had a very good season.

“He has a contract. We’re very happy he has a contract with us.”

Neves has played for Wolves since 2017, when he joined them from Porto. After helping them out of the Championship in his first season, he has been a consistent performer in the Premier League for half a decade.