Man Utd, Arsenal target could move as early as January, with initial stumbling block removed

Ruben Neves, Jose Sa, Wolves, October 2022

Manchester United and Arsenal target Ruben Neves could reportedly be on the move in January, on a loan deal with an obligation to buy.

Neves has been the subject of interest from a number of sides for some time. The main names that keep cropping up are United, Arsenal and Barcelona.

Indeed, a move to any of those sides would be a step up for the Portuguese. It would seem deserved, too, given how influential he has been since joining Wolves.

The 25-year-old slotted into the side perfectly in 2017/18, when Wolves were still in the Championship. The injection of Neves’ quality into the side helped the Molineux outfit make it back to the Premier League.

Since their return to the top flight, they have been solid, and Neves has been key to that. He has contributed to 25 goals in four full seasons from defensive midfield.

His quality as a whole has stood Wolves in good stead. Indeed, the Midlanders have only finished in the bottom half of the table once in four seasons since they were promoted.

However, things are not running so smoothly this season. Wolves have won just two games, and they find themselves 19th in the Premier League.

The lack of quality surrounding Neves has meant for fewer good performances compared to recent seasons.

As such, it may well be time for him to follow in the footsteps of Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota and move onto bigger and better things.

A move to Barcelona has been the most talked about way out for Neves of late. The Portuguese has added his own fuel to that fire, too, by saying it would be a “privilege” for him to play for the Spanish giants.

Neves transfer could happen in January

It could be that Neves finds himself en route to another club as early as January. Indeed, Spanish outlet Sport reports that there are a couple of options that could see Neves join Barcelona.

One of those is that the midfielder joins on a six-month loan from January, with an obligation for Barca to buy him.

Another option is a transfer in the summer, but with a fee ‘far removed’ from the €50million (£43.5million) that Wolves apparently wanted for him in the last window.

Indeed, by that point, Neves would have just a year remaining on his deal at Molineux. As such, Wolves would have little choice but to reduce their asking price, or risk losing out on a fee altogether.

Both of those options seem ideal for Barcelona. The La Liga side would have found their way past Neves’ price tag, which seemed to trip them up previously.

Man Utd, Arsenal take back seat

If the reports regarding the progress of a move to Barcelona are accurate, United and Arsenal will have to take a back seat. Indeed, the Premier League sides will have no chance if the loan route is taken.

However, if Neves is still at Wolves by the summer, they will retain a chance of snaring him.

By that point, Wolves will realistically need to sell up. However, if a bidding war commences, they could make a better fee than expected.

What’s more, if the Molineux outfit let Neves go mid-season, they will have to battle without one of their main assets. As such, it could be in their interests, as well as those of United and Arsenal, to hold out until the summer.