It seems like a transfer that has been said for many years, much like Wesley Sneijder joining United, but this could be the summer that Manchester United need the Wolverhampton Wanderers man. With Erik ten Hag looking for a new, less expensive option to Frenkie De Jong, then Ruben Neves might be the man to fill that void.
Ruben Neves this season
The Portuguese man has been with Wolves since 2017 and he has been an ever-present player in the team. Wolves signed him for a club-record fee from Porto whilst they were in the Championship. Since then he has grown to control the midfield and be a well-respected player in the Wolves set-up.
So much so that this year he was made Wolves permanent captain following the departure of Conor Coady to Everton.
His stature in the Wolves team reflects his consistent performances for them. He is a solid 7/10 each week; minimum.
With six goals to his name and five man-of-the-match performances, Neves is really finding his peak following years of mature performances, he is nearly the complete package.
Why this year then?
It is no secret that Manchester United have been interested in Ruben Neves and they have been linked with him on several occassions but this year feels different. With Erik ten Hag favouring Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro he is more than likely going to try and sell either Scott McTominay or Fred (or both). This frees up space for another centre midfielder (or even two if Marcel Sabitzer has passed his audition).
As stated, Neves has stepped up even more this year to be a complete defensive midfilder who shows great composure and it is certainly something United need following poor second half displays or when they have had to rotate.
At still just 26, unimaginably as it feels Neves has been around for years and years, he is a great age for United to mould him into a player that could be with the club for another 7 years or more. The guidance of both Casemiro and Eriksen could prove to be the perfect thing for Neves to master the game because you will not find many better than these two experienced heads.
Then there is the link up with fellow Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes. It may not have worked with Cristiano Ronaldo but Bruno is certainly in his pomp and having a recognised face alongside him internationally and domestically will be fantastic for him.
Is there any real substance to the rumours?
This time round there is. Wolves are open to the idea of selling him, as they feel he will not sign a new contract, especially with Barcelona sniffing around. United have been linked with a move for another Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes but they might be tempted to enquire about his captain.
United certainly have the financial power to attract Neves away from the Molineux but it is dependant on how much a new striker will cost. It is rumoured that Neves will cost United around £30 million with his contract up next summer.
For what United need at the moment then Neves is a perfect signing. The big stumbling block could be that his agent is Jorge Mendes who is pushing for a move to Barcelona. After the way Cristiano Ronaldo departed Old Trafford (although Mendes is no longer his agent) he may not want to deal with United again.