Barcelona is the most likely destination for in-demand Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves as things stand.
After five years at Molineux, Portugal international Neves appears to have played his final game for the club. In an emotional interview after Wolves’ final day defeat to Liverpool, Neves admitted the time may have come to chase his dreams elsewhere.
“If I go it will be really hard for me and my family, but we have dreams to live in a small space of time, and if anything happens, that’s why I was so emotional in the last game at home,” Neves said. “I do not know how it’s going to be, but if it’s my last game it’s really important.”
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Wolves have completed numerous deals with Barcelona over the last two years. Nelson Semedo arrived for £ 30million in 2020, while Francisco Trincao has just enjoyed a season-long loan at Molineux.
Adama Traore’s loan spell at Barcelona has left a sour taste in the mouths of supporters, but Wolves aren’t likely to stop dealing with the Catalan club. Wolves’ transfer aide Jorge Mendes enjoys a strong relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta which could result in Neves moving to the Camp Nou.
But with Barcelona still struggling financially, there are question marks over whether they will be able to meet Wolves’ demands for Neves. BirminghamLive understands Wolves are hoping to receive a club-record fee for Neves which surpasses the £ 45m Liverpool paid for Diogo Jota two years ago.
Barcelona could offer Wolves makeweights to seal the deal for Neves – but who would be of interest to Bruno Lage and Co?
Xavi has told Mingueza that he isn’t part of his plans for next season, and that he could play into Wolves’ hands. Naturally a center-back, standing at six feet tall, Mingueza could be the answer to one of Lage’s biggest problems.
Finding a new center-back is a priority for Wolves in order for Lage to successfully switch formations. The head coach wants to scrap the club’s three-at-the-back system for a more orthodox back four.
Mingueza, 23, isn’t lacking in experience having appeared 66 times for Barcelona’s first team across the last two seasons. He can also play at right-back and made his debut for Spain in a 4-0 friendly victory over Lithuania last year.
Wolves need to strengthen their midfield irrespective of Neves leaving and Gonzalez, who recently signed with Mendes’ Gestifute agency, would be an attractive option. The 20-year-old featured regularly under Xavi last season and Barcelona reportedly want to tie him down to a new contract.
He played 27 times in La Liga in 2021/22, but the majority of those appearances came as a substitute. Gonzalez has Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Gavi ahead of him in Xavi’s thinking – and the arrival of Neves would put another obstacle in front of him.
Wolves could give Gonzalez the guarantee of regular football – be it on loan or a permanent transfer – in the Premier League.
Puig is a much more diminutive, creative midfielder than fellow La Masia graduate Gonzalez. The 22-year-old is another player who has been deemed surplus to requirements by Xavi having only featured sporadically in the past three seasons.
Despite his popularity with Barcelona supporters, Puig has been overlooked by the club’s last two coaches. Puig only has 18 appearances and 590 minutes to show for his efforts last season and a move away from Barcelona seems inevitable.
Puig has been heavily linked with a transfer to Wolves in the last 12 months and he could add another dimension to Lage’s XI.
Would you like to see any of the Barcelona trio at Wolves? Have your say in the comments section below …