Ruben Neves has made it clear he will not be returning to the Premier League in January despite reported interest from Newcastle United.
The 26-year-old is well known to English fans after spending six seasons with Wolves, making 253 appearances. The Portugal international spent five of those campaigns in the Premier League, bagging 21 top-flight goals for the West Midlanders. However, he made a shock move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal during the summer window, with Wolves receiving a reported £47m for his signature.
The former Porto ace has settled well in the Middle East nation, with 14 Saudi Pro League appearances to date.
The Magpies brought Sandro Tonali to the club during the summer, landing one of Italy’s most exciting prospects.
However, they are now without his services for the remainder of 2023-2024 after his 10-month ban for breaching Italian betting regulations.
Eddie Howe has struggled for numbers of late, with a lengthy injury list.
And it appears as though he wants to bring in reinforcements during the winter window.
Tonali is a versatile midfielder, capable of fulfilling many roles and there are similarities with Neves.
Therefore it is understandable that Howe would look at the man who graced Molineux for so long.
But that particular door seems to have slammed, with the player himself ending speculation of a new year switch.
“I don’t go,” he told BBC Sport. “I think that’s rumours because of the owner of the clubs of course, and because I’ve played in England as well.
“There was Newcastle interest before I came here but I’m really happy here, my family’s really happy, so I’m having a great time.”
No Neves Newcastle move despite recent positive vote
Newcastle’s elevation to the right end of the Premier League table has been swift since Howe’s arrival.
Shrewd transfer business following the Saudi-backed takeover saw the Tynesiders qualify for the Champions League.
They sat in seventh spot ahead of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures while Europe’s elite club competition has proved tricky.
The north-east outfit face an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stage, with everything depending on their final group game with Milan.
Injuries have taken their toll. And therefore a recent Premier League vote which sanctioned the same ownership groups trading players between teams seemed a huge bonus.
The pursuit of Neves appeared to pick up pace but Howe must now fix his gaze elsewhere after Saturday’s knockback.
The St James’ Park club were hoping for a loan deal to see them through the second half of the season.
Arsenal have also been linked but a recent report claimed Mikel Arteta is now looking at Douglas Luiz.
The Spaniard is keen to bolster his midfield and the Aston Villa man is high on his list of priorities.