Wolves must break £50m barrier to land ideal Ruben Neves replacement after latest Jorge Mendes offer
Wolves have been offered the services of a midfielder who can succeed Ruben Neves, but the player in question’s current club aren’t in the mood for negotiations.
Neves might be in his last season as a Wolves player, since his contract is due to expire in 2024. If he doesn’t renew his deal, it might make more sense for the club to cash in at the next available opportunity.
The Portugal international has been a brilliant player for Wolves since joining them from Porto. If he is due to be on his way out of Molineux, he will leave a void in the side.
Replacing Neves will be a difficult task for Wolves, but they already seem to have some contingency plans. Recently, they began to be linked with Sporting midfielder, Manuel Ugarte.
And according to an update from Mundo Deportivo, Ugarte’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has offered him to Wolves.
Coincidentally, Mendes is also the representative of Neves, so he could facilitate one Wolves exit and one signing this summer.
In order for the Ugarte transfer to happen, though, Wolves will need to strike a deal with Sporting. Since they have him under contract until 2026, the Lisbon-based outfit are not willing to negotiate at present.
Yet there is a release clause in his contract worth €60million (£53.5m). Should Wolves put together an offer of that value, Sporting will not be able to stand in Ugarte’s way.
Hence, the Uruguay international has a chance of earning his first experience of Premier League football if things go the way of Julen Lopetegui’s side.
Barcelona battling Wolves for Ugarte
Alternatively, he could end up in La Liga with Barcelona, who have also been offered his services. The same goes for Premier League pair, Tottenham and Newcastle.
The 21-year-old will have to weigh up the pros and cons of any potential move. At Barcelona, he could experience Champions League football, whereas at Wolves, he might get more regular gametime.
As things stand, he will be focusing on what remains of the season with Sporting. His club are currently fourth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
They also have a Europa League round-of-16 double header against current Premier League leaders Arsenal coming up this month. It could give Ugarte the chance to showcase further what he can do against English sides, after already completing 90 minutes against Tottenham twice in the Champions League group stage.
His two appearances against Tottenham were part of his overall tally to date of 35 outings in all competitions this season. He is yet to provide a goal or assist, but is a more defensive type of midfielder anyway.
Coincidentally, Spurs have previously been suggested as alternative suitors for Ugarte. Indeed, Mundo Deportivo insists they are still in the race.
A transfer fee of €60m would make Ugarte Wolves’ record signing, surpassing his former Sporting midfield colleague, Matheus Nunes.
Ugarte and Nunes shared a pitch 33 times during their sole season together. But perhaps they will have a chance of linking up again for Wolves shortly.