Express & Star

Wolves not giving up hope of new Ruben Neves contract

Wolves are not giving up hope of tying Ruben Neves down to a new contract despite reported interest from Barcelona, the Express & Star understands.

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The star midfielder has shone for Wolves this season and helped the club into a position to battle for a return to European football – before a recent medial collateral ligament injury in his knee ruled him out until May.

The 25-year-old has attracted interest from some of Europe’s big clubs for a number of years and will have two years left on his deal this summer.

Wolves’ technical director Scott Sellars revealed exclusively to the Express & Star last month that the club are in talks with Neves over a new deal, but he exercised caution and said that many ‘elite clubs’ will have Neves on their radar.

The club are keen to keep hold of their star player and build on this season’s success and it is understood they have not given up hope of Neves signing fresh terms, despite the interest in him.

Since his move to Molineux in 2017, Neves has also settled at the club and his young family are understood to be enjoying life in Wolverhampton – which will bode well for Wolves’ hopes of keeping him.

However, if the right deal for the right club came in and Wolves were unable to tie Neves down to a new deal, his departure from Wolves is not out of the question.

Reports in The Athletic have suggested that Barcelona are interested in signing Neves and are leading a charge of Europe’s biggest clubs for his signature.

With veteran Joao Moutinho out of contract at the end of the season – as talks continue for him to extend his stay – reports have also linked Matheus Nunes and Joao Palhinha to Wolves.

The Sporting Lisbon midfielders could plug the gap left by Neves and Moutinho if they leave the club.

But head coach Bruno Lage believes Neves can achieve his ambitions in football with Wolves.

He said: “I want the best for him because since day one he has been available to work hard and accept all the challenges I propose to him for his career.

“He is improving his game and that’s why I wish him the best – and the best can be with us. We want every time to improve our team and this is football.

“I know it’s very hard to find players to play in that position that can do both sides of the game.”