The performances of Ruben Neves at Wolves this season have not gone unnoticed by some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Manchester United and Arsenal have strongly been linked with the 25-year-old, while the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona have also been named in connection with the Portuguese international.
There were questions raised when he first joined Wolves in 2017 about how he would cope with the tenacity of the English game.
After five years of English football, Neves has built himself up to be one of the most reliable and technically gifted midfielders in the top flight.
Ruben Neves has been linked to a number of sides including Manchester United and Arsenal
He has improved even further under the guidance of Bruno Lage, who rates the midfielder very highly and has even come out and put a £100million price tag on his head.
However, if Wolves are unable to qualify for Europe it could be difficult to fight off potential suitors in the next transfer window.
Sportsmail takes a look at where the influential midfielder could fit best, if he was to leave the club this summer.
No matter what players they have or who is on the touchline, Manchester United’s achilles heel for the past decade has been their midfield.
The biggest mistake the club made during last summer’s transfer window was deciding not to bring in a defensive midfielder and it has left them vulnerable this season.
For years no one has grabbed United’s midfield by the scruff of the neck and stamped authority on the team – something Neves did, when Wolves took a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in January.
Neves had a brilliant game in the middle of the park and showed what United were missing in terms of a player who can make a cutting edge pass in midfield.
Neves impresssed for Wolves during their Premier League clash with United back in January
As per FBRef.com, he also contributed defensively by making three blocks and four interceptions while also making more progressive passes than any other player on the pitch with eight.
While Neves’ return of four goals and two assists this season appear modest, he is often deployed in more of a defensive midfield position – though he does have the scope to play higher up as well.
Should United make a move for the 25-year-old who has two years left on his deal, he would benefit from an existing connection with international team-mates Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo that could allow him to hit the ground running.
However, there are a number of other midfielders in the running including Declan Rice. The West Ham star’s talents are undeniable and he would appear to be the perfect signing – if it were not for his £100million valuation which would likely cost some way more than Neves.
Reports have suggested that potential Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is a fan of Neves
Neves has played alongside Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo during international duty
Kalvin Phillips is another potential target, but one key factor to decide the matter is the identity of the new permanent manager at Old Trafford.
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is said to have verbally agreed the framework of a deal from United who have presented him with a three-year contract including the option for a fourth.
Reports have surfaced suggesting that Neves ranks among the coach’s top targets for his first window. He is apparently a ‘huge fan’ of the Portuguese and has been for many years.
Declan Rice is one of a number of other midfield players United could instead pursue
So if Ten Hag is really keen, it may make sense to move for Neves straight away before seeing whether the more expensive Rice or Phillips are attainable.
With Paul Pogba expected to leave in the summer, Nemanja Matic not getting any younger and the duo of Fred and Scott McTominay struggling to impress on a constant basis – there would be a clear place for Neves in this Manchester United team.
He would provide them something they do not currently possess and could play alongside either Fred or McTominay behind Fernandes in a midfield three.
There are arguments though that United could need another midfielder to play alongside Neves so that they can challenge Manchester City and Liverpool.
Arsenal are another club who have been missing something in midfield for many seasons – perhaps even since Patrick Vieira left the club in 2005.
Neves is a completely different type of player to the now Crystal Palace manager, but there does seem an obvious place for him in the Arsenal line-up if he was to move to the Emirates.
Thomas Partey has come a long way since he first joined the club, while the likes of Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe are exciting young talents who can play at the head of the midfield.
Mikel Arteta has long been a fan of Neves and would be interested in signing him this summer
However, there is a slot next to Partey that is up for grabs and where Neves could potentially fit in.
To say Granit Xhaka’s time at the Emirates has been mixed would be an understatement, and though there have been periods over the last two seasons where he has shown consistent form, Neves would be an upgrade on the Swiss international.
Neves could combine in a formidable midfield duo alongside Thomas Partey
They also have Albert Sambi Lakonga, who is in his first season at the club and is a promising player for the future, but the Gunners need more going into next season if they are to move up the table.
Arsenal fans weren’t pleased with Neves when he made comments claiming that the Gunners celebrated ‘like they won the league’ after their victory over Wolves in February.
However, supporters would most likely be very pleased if Arsenal were pull off the coup of signing Neves and playing him alongside Partey in what would could prove to be a formidable duo.
Reports have suggested that Arteta has made him a ‘top target’ and if they are able to get Champions League football, it could be a hard move for Neves to turn down if they do make a bid.
There is no guarantee that Neves will leave Wolves this summer. European qualification will boost their hopes as he is a player who deserves to test his talents in those competitions.
They are currently outside of the European places in eighth but are just points off Manchester United and a spot in the Europa Conference League.
Wolves could also price him out of a move and lead to interested parties looking elsewhere.
There are other teams who have had their eyes on the midfielder including Liverpool and Barcelona.
Liverpool could look to strengthen their midfield this summer but are outsiders currently in the race to sign Neves with Arsenal and Manchester United more strongly linked at this moment
European football next season could persuade Neves to stay at Wolves for a sixth season
The Reds have strengthened in other areas over recent transfer windows and with doubts over the likes of James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-term future at the club, they could look to sign a midfielder this summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s side though perhaps don’t need a midfield player like Neves at this time.
Despite their financial issues, Barcelona continue to be linked with top stars.
However at this moment, if Neves were to move, it would seem likely he would stay in the Premier League.