A Wolf’s Dream: Is Barcelona on the Cards for Ruben Neves This Summer?
Ruben Neves, the Wolverhampton Wanderers captain, has been setting his sights high – no less than Barcelona. The club also reportedly harbours a keen interest in the midfielder. However, before we see Neves trading in his Wolves jersey for Blaugrana, several factors remain in play. This football saga stars multiple actors, including Barcelona coach Xavi, several key players, Wolves’ cash reserves, and the ubiquitous super-agent Jorge Mendes.
The Chessboard at Barcelona
Barcelona, led by president Joan Laporta, has held Neves in high regard for some time now. While funds last summer proved inadequate to secure Neves’ services, ongoing negotiations with Mendes – Neves’ representative – suggest that the Catalan club might finally have their man.
Nevertheless, there’s a hitch in the plan. Xavi, the Barcelona coach, isn’t entirely sold on Neves being the ideal successor to their legendary holding midfielder, Sergio Busquets. Xavi’s eyes are set on Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad to fill those massive shoes.
Yet, Mendes’ significant influence in Barcelona’s dressing room – representing stars like Alejandro Balde, Ansu Fati, and Lamine Yamal – may turn the tide in Neves’ favour. If Mendes can negotiate a profitable sale for striker Fati, Barcelona could pursue Neves without disregarding Xavi’s preference for Zubimendi or Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich.
Under such circumstances, Neves could find himself in an advanced role, akin to Franck Kessie’s current position, which Barcelona aims to vacate this summer.
Wolves’ Standpoint on the Neves Saga
Molineux has been buzzing with rumours of Barcelona’s intentions, and reports of verbal agreements don’t seem to rattle the Wolves officials. They understand the back-channel dynamics with Mendes involved with both clubs.
However, Wolves have a stern condition: cash for Neves, no player swaps. The Spanish media’s speculations about a possible Fati-Neves exchange were shut down, with Fati expressing reluctance to move to Molineux, and Wolves’ boss, Julen Lopetegui, wanting to break from Mendes’ client acquisition style.
Wolves’ previous experience with Goncalo Guedes, a £28 million signing who didn’t quite meet expectations, has shaped this stance. The club now seeks dedicated players and financial sustainability under the Premier League’s rules.
Neves, who has offered six years of exceptional service since his 2017 signing, is now expected to chase his Champions League dream. Wolves’ support for this ambition comes with the understanding that he has already exceeded his expected tenure at the club.
Despite their attempts to diversify from Mendes’ client portfolio, Wolves acknowledges the agent’s significant role in their team. With Neves’ contract set to expire next year, they face a crossroad: sell their valued asset now or commit to a new contract, with no certainty of reaching an agreement.
So, Wolves could consider Barcelona’s bid, but only if it’s a straight cash deal.
Neves’ Barcelona Ambition
Aged 26, Neves’ career has blossomed in Wolverhampton, where he raises his young family with his wife, Debora. Known for his dedication on and off the field, he’s undoubtedly a player any club would be privileged to have.
However, Neves’ ambitions extend beyond Molineux – he dreams of Champions League glory and considers Barcelona as the perfect platform. Despite any initial reservations from Xavi, Neves backs his skills to secure a spot on the team. His emotional