Premier League rival manager delivers Liverpool potential transfer ‘blow’

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is a reported target for Liverpool ahead of summer transfer deadline day.

Wolves manager Bruno Lage is almost certain that Ruben Neves will not be leaving the club before the transfer window closes.

The Portugal international has been linked with a late switch to Liverpool as Jurgen Kloppaims to bolster his midfield options before deadline day on Thursday.

Neves has been one of Wolves’ star performers since arriving from Porto in 2017. He helped them achieve promotion to the Premier League and then qualify for the Europa League.

At the end of last season, it appeared that the 25-year-old would move on to pastures new after five years at Molineux.

But he’s remained at Wolves throughout the summer so far and scored in his side’s 1-1 draw against Newcastle United yesterday.

Speaking after the game, Lage was asked about Neves’ future ahead of the window slamming shut at 23.00 BST on 1 September.

And the Molineux chief remains 99% confident his captain won’t be departing.

What’s been said

“Ruben is playing very well, that’s why he was so important last season,” Lage said per the Express & Star.

“Remember the kind of season he had last year and he’s started in a good moment.

“He’s trained well and is fit. You can see he is in a good moment and that is why we need time to get everyone fit like Ruben.

“He has been amazing since the first day here. Now it’s time to continue to work.

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

“I am 99% he will stay with us for one more year. I can say 100, but you never know with the market.

“He is happy here, he is our captain and I am sure that he will be here to play for us.

“You can see that he is focused on his team and his game.”

Liverpool’s midfield search

Jurgen Klopp had been steadfast that Liverpool would not be signing a midfielder in the current transfer window.

However, injuries to Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - coupled with the Reds failing to win their opening three games of the Premier League campaign - forced Klopp into a rethink.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on Saturday, the Anfield boss said: “That changed of course.

“I know we have had this discussion since it all started and I am the one who said we don’t need a midfielder and you were all right and I was wrong.

“That’s the situation. There is really nothing more to say about it. We are looking for it, and if it is the right player we need him and if it is not the right player we don’t need him.”