Wolves are demanding a colossal new fee for Ruben Neves this summer which is mixed news for Man Utd, though that update has now heightened Leeds’ fears over Raphinha, per a source.
Neves, 25, has been one of Wolves most capable and consistent performers since arriving in 2017. However, links with a move to a bigger club have always persisted and Man Utd have drawn the most frequent links of any English side.
Indeed, Neves did little to dampen speculation his time at Molineux will soon conclude with his comments after the final match of last season.
Neves has two years remaining on his deal, meaning Wolves are in a decent enough position to demand a high fee.
Prior reports had suggested they’d seek around £50m for his signature. But according to Portuguese football expert, Pedro Sepulveda, the true figure is far higher.
Indeed, Sepulveda added that at the price Wolves are seeking, fellow suitor Barcelona simply cannot compete.
With Barca out of the running, the door would be open for United to pounce, though at far higher cost than they might’ve hoped.
Raphinha in Barcelona crosshairs
Sepulveda then added the only player he sees Barcelona moving for this summer is Leeds United winger, Raphinha.
The Brazilian is a known target for the Spanish side and their focus could shift entirely onto Raphinha if a Neves deal is deemed a non-starter.
Barcelona’s efforts in that regard may accelerate if Frenkie de Jong is sold to Manchester United. Neves would appear the natural successor to the Dutchman in midfield, though a new long-term contract for Gavi could allow them to target attacking reinforcements instead.
“Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is still a target for many cubs,” said Sepulveda. “But we know the price the club want is not easy to bring an official bid.
“If Neves leaves Wolves, the only club that I know was going to do a formal offer was Barcelona. But we know they have financial problems, and they can’t make an offer for the price Wolves want.
“The only player I think Barcelona will make a bid for is Raphinha at Leeds.
“Wolves are looking for between €80m-€100m so they won’t accept a bid in the region of €40-£50m. We’ll have to see if there is any club in Europe who will meet that asking price.
“If Wolves do eventually negotiate a deal for the sale of Neves, I’m certain that Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha is the player lined up to replace him.”
Could Man Utd sign De Jong and Ruben Neves?
The Red Devils are yet to make a signing this summer while those around them make their moves. Man Utd were in for Darwin Nunez, though the reason why they pulled out has recently emerged.
While a new striker remains a priority, the funds earmarked for Nunez could feasibly be reallocated into midfield.
The engine room is where United have been weakest in recent years. With Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both departing, two new signings could be the order of the day.
The issue stems from the high cost of signing both Neves and De Jong. If Sepulveda is correct, neither player are likely to move for under £70m.
A De Jong-Neves tandem would add creativity and class to an area United have laboured. However, unless they are willing to ignore other areas – such as striker and/or centre-back – signing both seems highly unlikely.