Could Ruben Neves Already Be Set for an Early Premier League Return?

Ruben Neves sent shockwaves through European football when he decided to part ways with Wolves and head to Al-Hilal this past summer as part of a bunch of football superstars who landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in that same period. Now, and according to the latest British reports, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), who are the owners of the top four Saudi clubs, including Al-Hilal, are currently considering the idea of transferring the Portugal international midfielder from the Saudi capital side.


Rumor has it that Neves could return to the United Kingdom in the winter transfer window, and more precisely, join Newcastle United, as The Magpies also have the same owners. The English club is reportedly looking for a replacement for their Italian newcomer Sandro Tonali, who has been recently suspended, leaving a void in the midfield of his side. Sandro Tonali just landed in Great Britain from Serie A giants in the previous transfer period for a massive fee, and his role is not easy to fill. So how much sense does this story make actually?


From a technical point of view, Sandro Tonali shares a lot of common traits with Ruben Neves — not only the long hair. These two players excel in terms of long-passing range. But this is not the only reason Newcastle acquired the Italian in the first place. Eddie Howe already has enough long-passing in midfield in his deep-lying playmaker Bruno Guimaraes, but what he actually wants from his right central midfielder in a three-man midfield is to push forward and create wide overloads with Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron.


The English gaffer also wants this role to be filled by someone who can advance and run into the box, someone who can receive balls in the final third and score goals. This is exactly what Sean Longstaff has been doing under the lead of Howe, before The Magpies decided to upgrade on him. Neves started his career with his FC Porto as an interior midfielder only to be moved into a deep-lying role.


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However, since making the move to Saudi Arabia, he has played in a double pivot alongside Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and has the license to push forward, but unless Howe is planning on pushing Guimarares further forward and unleashing Neves in the anchor role, Newcastle may be better suited going for a more attack-minded midfielder.


But most importantly, what does Al-Hilal have to say on this matter? Al-Hilal are currently competing in all the possible competitions this season, including the Saudi Professional League title, the AFC Champions League and the Saudi King’s Cup. After losing the Arab Club World Cup final in the pre-season against city rivals Al-Nassr, Jorge Jesus’ side have responded in style and find themselves in first place in the league.


After losing Neymar to a long-term injury, Al-Hilal will be reticent to part ways with a vital player in Neves. Alongside the likes of Yassine Bounou, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Malcom, the Portuguese midfielder is yet another blockbuster signing who has been hitting his stride under the tutelage of his compatriot, and he’ll be looking to win the second club trophy of his career after claiming the 2017/18 EFL Championship title with Wolves.



Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Pool – Getty Images