Manchester United are reportedly considering a move for Wolves star Ruben Neves as one of two possible alternatives for Frenkie de Jong.
De Jong has been United’s priority target this transfer window, but with the deal dragging and reported interest from Chelsea, who are said to be in talks over a move for the Barcelona star, the Red Devils are ‘considering alternatives’.
That’s according to Sky Sports reporter Melissa Ruddy, who claims the Portugal international has ‘all the things you want in an anchor in a progressive side’.
Ruddy said: “We know Frenkie de Jong has been Manchester United’s priority target, but with the deal dragging on, alternatives will come into play and one of the names we know they have looked at and have been interested in is Ruben Neves of Wolves.
“There is a long-standing interest from the Old Trafford club because of his stylistic profile, incredible passing range, a threat in terms of goalscoring and he controls the tempo really well – all the things you want in an anchor in a progressive side.
“We know Wolves value him upwards of £60m. They wouldn’t want to lose him necessarily, but United have to start considering the fact the longer the De Jong saga drags on with no resolution between him and Barcelona, what else can be done?”
De Jong’s preference is to remain at Barcelona, but he has been told by the Spanish club that he will need to take a significant pay cut to stay at the Nou Camp.
If he is to leave, the midfielder would prefer a move to a club paying Champions League football, putting Chelsea ahead of United in the transfer stakes.
Despite that, Ruddy claims United are ‘quite confident that De Jong does indeed want to join them’, despite every report being to the contrary.
She said: “From United’s end, though, they remain quite confident in their agreement with Barcelona for De Jong and are quite confident that the player does indeed want to join them.”
And if they can’t get De Jong, or Neves, whom Wolves boss Bruno Lage is desperate to keep at Molineux this season, United could also move for Renato Sanches, who had a less than fruitful spell in the Premier League with Swansea, but has impressed with Ligue 1 side Lille.
She added: “The other name loosely floated has been Renato Sanches, who can play as an anchor, but is better when used as a box-to-box midfielder. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that name yet.”