Barcelona’s change of heart regarding Rúben Neves has handed Manchester United a major transfer boost ahead of the summer window.
The Wolves midfielder has long been on the La Liga giants’ radar, but it appears Xavi is now looking for a different profile to strengthen his midfield.
According to Fichajes (via The Sun), Barcelona are no longer interested in Neves, with the Catalan outfit keen on signing a midfielder capable of sitting in front of the defence and thwarting opposition attacks – a task currently carried by Sergio Busquets.
However, the club legend’s current contract runs down in the summer and there’s a possibility he could leave. As such, Barca are searching for a midfielder to replace Busquets.
Man Utd ‘Already Negotiating’ With Barcelona Transfer Target
Neves, meanwhile, plays his best football higher up the pitch. Thanks to his impressive ball-striking, the Portugal international could prove to be an interesting goal-scoring outlet for Barcelona, but his poor positioning would be an issue for the team in transition.
The Premier League giants are looking for something else to shake up their midfield, and according to the report, they are ‘already negotiating’ for Neves’ transfer.
Further, it appears United are no longer expecting Frenkie de Jong to swap Camp Nou for Old Trafford. Neves is similar to the Netherlands international. Both are good at progressing the play, but not defensively good enough to guard the defence on their own.
With Casemiro in the middle of the park, Erik ten Hag can afford to play a more adventurous second midfielder. Fred played as high as Bruno Fernandes against Barcelona in the Europa League play-off round, and helped United to press Xavi’s side in their defensive third.
The club hierarchy needs to create the same dynamic at Barcelona and sign a young defensive midfielder who can help De Jong, Gavi, and Pedri run havoc higher up the field.