Newcastle United have reportedly accelerated their efforts to complete loan deal with an option to buy for Ruben Neves as they seek a replacement for the banned Sandro Tonali.
The Italy international has begun his 10-month suspension after Fifa extended the ban worldwide for the midfielder after he breached betting rules.
And, according to Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb, Toon boss Eddie Howe wants to bring former Wolves man Neves back to Europe from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.
The report states that Howe has ‘asked for his purchase’ as he wants the club to bolster his engine room after the shock loss of big-money summer signing Tonali.
Simply buying Neves from Al-Hilal in January is not currently an option for Newcastle due to Financial Fair Play concerns.
But the fact that Al-Hilal are owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, the same group that runs Newcastle, there is a belief that the relationship ‘can help the success of the operation’.
TMW adds that the idea is for Neves to arrive at St James Park on loan with the right to buy and contacts have been underway ‘for some time’.
Indeed, there has now been an ‘acceleration’ over those discussions in the light of Tonali’s ban and Howe feeling he needs to bring in another quality addition to his squad to cope with the demands of domestic and European football.
Neves open to Premier League return
And while there is nothing concrete as yet, it’s thought that Neves is open to returning to the Premier League in January.
His salary would also likely stay the same, with part of it paid by Al-Hilal, who in turn would likely be allowed to bring another foreign player into their squad as a result.
Neves scored 30 goals in 253 appearances for Wolves and played a major role in their return to the Premier League back in 2018.
In 21 outings for Al-Hilal so far this season he has notched two goals and an assist.