EPL Transfer Rumour: Chelsea and Liverpool in the race to sign Porto youngster Ruben Neves
Porto youngster Ruben Neves has attracted interest from top European clubs. If reports are to be believed then Liverpool, Chelsea, Juventus, and Valencia are keen on signing the player in January with Chelsea leading in the race so far.
The Italian media claims that Liverpool and Chelsea have both enquired about the player’s availability for transfer in the January transfer window. The 19-year-old midfielder has a £36m release clause at Porto however Chelsea are prepared to offer a player plus cash deal for Neves’ move to the Bridge. The Blues are ready to offer an amount around £24m plus a player with add-ons for the youngster.
A product of FC Porto’s youth system, which he joined at the age of eight, Neves was called in the senior team in July 2014 for the squad’s pre-season with Porto’s manager Julen Lopetegui. The player then went on to make his debut in the first team in the Primeira Liga in August 2014 at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player in the club’s history to score a goal in the competition.
Five days later, Neves played his first game at UEFA Champions League, breaking the record of youngest Portuguese to appear in the tournament.
With accurate passing, great vision and an astute sense of positioning, the youngster is a defensive midfielder who can go forward and initiate an attack. Neves has often been compared with Portuguese international Joao Moutinho for excellent distribution and his desire to press his opponents.
As such Chelsea want an answer from the player one way or other by the first week of November, as to whether he will be willing to join the club in January. Liverpool and Valencia too have watched the youngster.
Moreover, Juventus have been tracking the 19-year-old since 2014, and are keen on signing him this January. Bianconeri are in dire need to add players to the squad to strengthen their midfield after having let go of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, in the last 18 months.
Chelsea are looking forward to the January transfer window. Having failed to land his top targets during the summer, the Blues manager Antonio Conte is desperate to bolster his defence, however bringing in Neves could end the stay for Matic, Mikel, and/or Fabregas at Bridge.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are having a good season so far, nevertheless, the Reds need a controlling deep-lying midfielder in the absence of Emre Can. Neves presence in the squad would offer an alternative for Can and Henderson, who has established himself at deep but is comfortable driving forward.