Barcelona boss Xavi ‘calls Arsenal and Man Utd transfer target Ruben Neves’
Rice makes decision; Tchouameni agress terms; Neves 'open' to move
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Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has attempted to steal a march on Arsenal and Manchester United by holding discussions with Ruben Neves. The Wolves star is a target for all three clubs this summer but the La Liga giants appear to be frontrunners after stealing a march.
Reports in Catalonia suggest the Barca boss telephoned Neves to express his desire to sign the Portugal international. It is believed Xavi sees Neves as a long-term successor to Sergio Busquets at Camp Nou and is keen to make a move this summer.
It was reported by Catalan outlet Sport that Neves was ‘convinced’ by his conversation with Xavi, who has already raided Wolves once since taking over after loaning Adama Traore in January. The 42-year-old maintains complete control of transfers, with sporting director Mateu Alemany the negotiator.
Arsenal and Man United are also keen to capture Neves, who has hinted that his five-year spell with Wolves will come to an end in the summer transfer window. Arsenal are keen to sign another midfielder to partner Thomas Partey, while United have two midfielders to replace in Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Both Premier League clubs have the financial means to launch a bid for the 25-year-old, who is valued at around £35million.And that could prove to be the difference in striking a deal, with the Blaugrana struggling again to fund moves for their transfer targets.
The La Liga giants have already signed Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers from AC Milan and Chelsea respectively, but cannot register the pair until they raise some funds.
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After the club’s final game this season, Neves — who arrived at Molineux in 2017 from Porto — said: “This club means everything for me, for my family. My kids grew up in Wolverhampton; I have three kids, they were all born when I was here.
“If I go it would be really hard for me and my family. But, as I told you, we have dreams to live in a short space of time. And if anything happens, that’s why I was so emotional the last game at home because I don’t know how it’s going to be. If it was my last game it was really important.”
United could be the beneficiaries from Barca’s interest in Neves, with the Red Devils keen on a move for Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman is happy to stay with the Spanish club but could be sold to raise funds for moves elsewhere. His former boss at Ajax, Erik ten Hag, is interested in reuniting with the midfielder at Old Trafford after taking over as head coach.
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