Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com
Wolves captain Rúben Neves is close to a €55 million move to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal.
The Portuguese had been linked with a switch to Barcelona but the La Liga champions have not been able to get a deal over the line.
Several UK media outlets are reporting that Wolves have agreed a deal with Al Hilal for Neves, who only had a year left on his contract, with a move that will be a club-record sale likely to be completed this week.
Neves had been expected to leave this summer but after the Barca move failed to materialise the 26-year-old now looks set to become the latest high-profile player to join the Pro League.
Karim Benzema completed a free transfer from Real Madrid to Al Ittihad this month and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is linked with joining him. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al Nassr from Manchester United in December.
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez is another potential target for Saudi Arabian clubs, while former Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has been linked with move to take over the reins at Al Ettifaq.
A huge offer for Wolves would ease the financial pressures the club will be working under in the transfer window this summer.
They have been under pressure to sell to avoid breaching Premier League spending rules after splashing out £200 million this term.
It led to doubts over Julen Lopetegui’s future but the former Real Madrid manager will stay at Molineux having received assurances.
Yet he will lose Neves, who has been central to Wolves’ success since joining from Porto in 2017.
He helped them win the Championship a year later and then to two consecutive seventh-placed finishes in the Premier League.
The club also reached the Europa League quarter-finals in 2020 – where they were knocked out by Lopetegui’s Sevilla – but have struggled to replicate that success and finished 13th last season having been bottom at Christmas.
Neves, who made 253 appearances for Wolves in all competitions, scoring 30 goals, told Sky Sports towards the end of the season that he wanted to play Champions League football as he addressed uncertainty regarding his future.
“Let’s see what’s going to happen. I always say the same thing, I truly love to be here. But I never hide that I want to play Champions League football,” he said.
“In football you need to go for your main goals and that will be a massive decision for me and my family.”