Erik ten Hag ‘will make Ruben Neves his top priority signing if he becomes Manchester United boss’ with the Dutchman ‘a huge fan’ of the Wolves playmaker after ‘tracking his progress since he was a teenager’
- Erik ten Hag wants to sign Ruben Neves if he joins Man United, reports claim
- The Dutchman has been interviewed for the job and has already outlined targets
- The Ajax boss has reportedly been monitoring Neves since he was at FC Porto
Erik ten Hag is has put Wolves star Ruben Neves at the top of his transfer wishlist should he get the green light to become the next Man United boss, reports claim.
The Ajax coach is one of the frontrunners for the Old Trafford role after holding talks with club chiefs, and the Dutchman is already lining up his plans should he be given the keys to the kingdom.
It emerged on Wednesday that Ten Hag had pledged to make a number of changes during his interview – including a transfer raid on his club Ajax, fixing up the team’s fitness levels in a ‘five-year project’ to catapult United back to the glory days.
Erik ten Hag (R) is targeting a move for Wolves star Ruben Neves if he takes over at Manchester United, according to reports
The Ajax boss wants to add more quality to the United squad after claiming they are ‘some way off’ Champions League shape during his interview with the club
Ten Hag also claimed the current crop of players are ‘some way off’ Champions League shape’, according to the report from the Independent, and proposed a list of transfer targets that he would be desperate to bring to Old Trafford – with a handful of players in his Ajax squad on his shortlist.
And the Sun has reported that one of the new faces he wants to bring to United is Wolves playmaker Neves, who has has been tracking for a number of years.
Ten Hag has been a ‘huge fan’ of the Portuguese midfielder ‘for years’, the report adds, and is pushing to bring him to United to increase their creativity levels and quality in the middle of the park.
The former Bayern Munich assistant coach has been following Neves since he was a teenager back at Porto and believes he would be a ‘vital’ signing given the club’s struggles to open teams up this season.
Ten Hag has reportedly been tracking Neves since he was a teenager with FC Porto
Ten Hag is already understood to be making transfer plans after meeting United chiefs
United have reportedly been looking over Neves for a few years, so hearing that Ten Hag is also keen on the player should be pleasing to hear from club officials.
The player has just two years left on his deal and has revealed his intentions to play Champions League football in the future – so clubs will soon be lining up to test Wolves’ resolve with a bid. Barcelona are another club to have been linked.
Neves – who joined Wolves from Porto in 2017 – has four goals and two assists for the club this season. His superb passing and vision has earned him plaudits – having featured more than 200 times for Black Country outfit.
Wolves boss Bruno Lage admitted the club could be tempted by a ‘big offer’ during a press conference last week – but insisted he will do everything he can to convince him to stay put at Molineux and present him with a new contract.
Lage said: ‘For sure, he will receive a proposal from us but the way he plays I can see other teams are looking for him also.
United are said to have spent years tracking Neves – who has earned plaudits for his passing range, vision and technical ability
‘You never know what can happen. There could be a big team with a big offer and we would need to analyse what is better for us and for the player.
‘What is important to say is that it’s very hard to find a player like him. We used to call it a defensive midfielder but it’s now a central midfielder, a guy who can defend and can attack. He can do both things.’
He added: ‘He can score goals and do assists. It’s very hard to find.
‘From my side, he knows my opinion – I want the best for his career. If he prefers to remain with us, for sure we will be happy and stronger. But this is football and you never know.
‘When you see the kind of level he’s playing and the challenge we give to him to be more consistent, he’s a big loss for us at the moment.’