Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd midfielder pursuit puts Lage at odds with Wolves, who have Liverpool deal in mind

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves battling Liverpool striker Diogo Jota

Man Utd scouted Ruben Neves in person last weekend ahead of a proposed summer approach, and a report has claimed trouble is brewing between Wolves and Bruno Lage.

Central midfield is one area Manchester United are expected to address this summer. Erik ten Hag will succeed Ralf Rangnick at season’s end and the Dutchman will believe he is more than capable of putting the Red Devils back on track.

Ten Hag will be backed in the market and revamping United’s engine room will be a high priority.

Indeed, Nemanja Matic has announced he will leave, while Paul Pogba is due to become a free agent.

Talk of an ambitious raid for Leeds Utd talisman Kalvin Phillips has swelled in recent weeks. However, prising the boyhood Leeds fan away from Elland Road will be difficult.

Instead, Wolves maestro Ruben Neves appears a far more gettable target, though his manager previously suggested he’ll cost a record fee.

Indeed, Bruno Lage insisted his star midfielder would cost £100m to sign. A fee in that range could break the British transfer record – currently held by Jack Grealish.

A report from the Birmingham Mail has revealed Manchester United have ramped up their burgeoning pursuit by scouting Neves on Saturday.

‘Growing belief’ Ruben Neves will depart

Wolves fell to Brighton 3-0 with Neves coming off at half-time. However, one sub-par performance is unlikely to detract from his overall body of work which has been excellent in England.

Neves would represent a readymade option to slot straight into United’s starting eleven. And in promising news for United, the report adds Wolves won’t hold out for anything near the price Lage quoted.

Instead, it’s claimed they will seek a ‘significant increase’ on what they received when Liverpool signed Diogo Jota in 2020.

Ruben Neves top target for Ten Hag and Manchester United

Ruben Neves top target for Ten Hag and Manchester United

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is wanted by Erik Ten Hag as his first signing for Manchester United this summer

The Reds snapped up the Portuguese forward for an initial £41m. The final figure could reach £45m pending add-ons.

The exact figure Wolves will seek for Neves isn’t hinted at. However, it’s noted they will find it difficult to turn down a hefty offer. Factoring in all the information available, £50m-£60m may do the trick.

Regarding the likelihood of Neves actually moving, the report concludes there is a ‘growing belief behind the scenes’ that this will be Neves’ final season at Molineux.