The English Premier League is in its closing stages but rumours and speculations still continue to circulate and it appears Liverpool are in the centre of it as they are linked to a rising star.
At the moment, the Reds are flying high in Europe as they are in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and are still fighting for a spot in the top four of the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are considered to be one of the more exciting teams in the continent, with an impressive attacking style that pours in goals and makes for a thrilling 90 minutes on the pitch.
And rumours are now linking them with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves.
Who is Neves?
Wolves just recently secured their spot at the top flight after ensuring they finish in the top two of the Championship that automatically promotes them to the Premier League next year.
A big part is Neves’ arrival with the team as he has been a central force in the midfield and his command and control has helped Wolverhampton find their groove throughout the campaign.
At the moment, Neves has scored six goals in the Championship along with one assist. And while some feel that it isn’t a big production, Neves’ influence on the pitch goes past goals and assists.
Coming up the ranks of Portuguese Club Porto, Neves’ talent was automatically on display as he was named the club captain in a UEFA Champions League match against Maccabi Tel Aviv back in October 2015. This made Neves the youngest player to ever captain a team in the European competition – at 18 years and 221 days old.
This was a sign of the things to come for the Portuguese and at the start of the 2017-18 season, he made a successful switch to Wolverhampton.
Howling with Wolves
Many were surprised when Wolverhampton made a big £15.8-million move to secure Neves’ services. Only 20 years old at the time, the Portuguese immediately made an impact as Wolves went unbeaten in their first three Championship games.
Neves opened his scoring tally in the third game, scoring the game’s first goal in a 3-2 victory against Hull City.
He would go on to play 19 consecutive league games with the club before being forced to sit out their clash against Birmingham City because of accumulated yellow cards.
In his second game back from suspension, Neves scored the winner against Sheffield Wednesday with a right-footed shot in the 34th minute to lead the way for Wolves.
The remainder of the season saw him dominate the midfield, stopping opponents’ counterattacks and helping the team move forward when needed.
How he fits with Liverpool
His impressive performance this year has linked him with a possible move to Anfield. While many have yet to see what he completely brings to the table, understanding his style of play can show why he may be an important player for the Reds to sign.
Emre Can is still linked to a move away from Anfield as his contract is set to expire and a deal with Italian club Juventus seems all but a certainty at this point.
This leaves the team lacking in the defensive midfield role and Neves should fill in that spot with seamless transition.
Neves also displays a hard-nosed work ethic that Klopp certainly appreciates – as the Portuguese star is not afraid to get physical with opponents as they try to stop their attack. This has resulted in 11 yellow cards this season, sanctioning Neves a total of four games suspended.
Furthermore, Neves’ price tag is still not as inflated as many are seeing it to rise in the future, especially if he stays with Wolverhampton and helps them stay afloat in the Premier League. If Neves does end up staying with Wolves by the 2018-19 campaign, he will be seen by more teams outside England and the desire to have an all-around midfielder will make him even harder to sign.
Where will he be next season?
At the moment, Neves revealed that he still wants to stay with Wolverhampton next season. However, big money movement and the opportunity to play for a big club like Liverpool, assumingly with European football on the horizon, is difficult to deny.
His worth is currently around the £15 million Wolverhampton spent to pick up Neves, but it is expected to rise to possibly double that when serious offers are ready to come in.
Furthermore, there seems to be talks that Wolverhampton are eyeing possible replacements if Neves leaves. One name linked to Wolves is the 24-year-old Anderson Talisca who is currently with Turkish club Besiktas while he was sent on loan by Benfica.