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Premier League • England

Exclusive: Newcastle favourites for Saudi Pro League superstar in permanent transfer

Ruben Neves next to the Newcastle badge

Newcastle United target Ruben Neves

Newcastle United are looking at potentially dipping into the Saudi Arabian market in the January transfer window and TEAMtalk can reveal they are the favourites to bring Ruben Neves back to the Premier League.

On Tuesday, Premier League clubs voted to allow affiliate clubs to do business, which was warmly welcomed by several clubs including Newcastle. The move to vote on the matter was pushed by clubs anxious about the potential for Newcastle to take advantage of their Saudi ownership and bring some of the biggest names from the SPL back to Europe.

One major target for Eddie Howe and his side is former Wolves midfielder Neves, who is available for loan in the winter window. The midfielder only joined Al-Hilal in the summer but is close to an exit just months after his arrival.

Sources close to player have stated that a deal could wait until the summer as the 26-year-old is keen to move permanently and not only on a short-term loan.

Neves has suitors in England and around Europe and there is no shortage of interest.

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Many players, like Neves, have struggled to settle into life in Saudi Arabia and despite the incredible salaries they are receiving, a number may well only stay for a short time and look to return to European football.

Newcastle are favourites for Neves’ signature as they look to try and source cover for record signing Sandro Tonali. The Italian has begun his 10-month ban after breaching beating rules.

Neves loan would contain buying clause

Sources have stated a loan with an obligation or option to buy is likely to become part of any negotiation but there could be reason for both parties to wait until the summer and bring Neves in on a permanent basis.

Al-Hilal signed Neves from Wolves in a deal worth £47million earlier this year. The Portugal international is paid £300,000 per week, over double the salary he was earning at Molineux.

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It will cost around the same sum to bring him back to the Premier League with Arsenal also very keen to add him to their squad as they try to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004.

The sounds coming from sources close to the player are that his return to one of Europe’s top leagues is imminent and he will be playing at a Champions League level outfit in the near future.

Neves has been capped 45 times by his country and has been a regular for his new side this season playing 12 times in the league grabbing one assist.

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