Exclusive – Manchester United have added Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves to their list of summer transfer targets, and it's likely he'll be allowed to leave Molineux.
United have mainly prioritised other positions in their preparations for the upcoming transfer window, primarily a centre-back, striker and winger, but central midfield is still a need in the overall squad rebuild and pursuing Neves could be a highly opportunistic approach.
Wolves are readying themselves to sell the Portugal international, along with a handful of their other big names. 90min understands that is because parent company Fosun are looking to restructure their commitment to the club, and while they are not pulling out altogether - like fellow Chinese firm Suning have with Jiangsu and Inter - super agent Jorge Mendes has been instructed to find buyers and arrange potential deals for some of their top players.
Mendes was largely responsible for assembling much of Wolves' current squad, using his knowledge and contacts in the Portuguese market to bring in a host of talents in recent years. Aside from Neves, who was Porto captain at 18 prior to joining Wolves, that has included the likes of Joao Moutinho, Rui Patricio, Nelson Semedo, Raul Jimenez, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto.
But it is not only Wolves who are ready to part company with Neves, as the player himself is understood to feel that after four years and 170 appearances, the time has come for a new challenge. He is valued in excess of £30m and Wolves will sell if that valuation is met.
Initially helping Wolves win promotion from the Championship, Neves, now 24, has developed into one of the Premier League’s top central midfielders and could be the man to partner Declan Rice at Old Trafford for years to come - with the West Ham star another United target.
West Ham are waiting until the end of the season to make a decision on Rice, as qualifying for the Champions League would make them determined to keep hold of their best players. But conversations between United and the Hammers have thrown up the names of Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones as possible makeweights in any deal for the England starter.
As for Neves, United would not be the only club interested in him as Mendes has contacts all over Europe and there will not be a top side unaware of his availability. However, in the current financial climate, the Premier League is still the dominant force when it comes to spending power.