Rumour has it that Liverpool have been tracking Porto's Ruben Neves for more than a year now, keeping a close eye on the Portuguese wonderkid since he broke through with the Primeira side as a 17-year-old last season. Now, though, the Reds may have some serious competition for the highly rated talent.
That's because according to the Mirror, Arsenal have had scouts watching him at almost every game this season, with the Gunners trying to decide if the youngster is worth shelling out the well over £20M it would take to pry him away from Porto. The suggestion is they have decided he is, and so they now join the Reds as favourites to land Neves.
Despite being only 18 years of age, Neves has already made 50 appearances for Porto. He has also captained the side in the Champions League. For all that he isn't yet the finished product, he is stunningly assured for an 18-year-old, one who looks a near certainty to develop into one of the best midfielders in Europe over the next few years.
Part deep lying playmaker, part cultured screening player, and not one to shy away from the physical game, Neves seems set to establish himself as a premier player at the base of midfield. The only question at this point is which of Europe's giants he winds up anchoring for the next five or ten years—and how much they pay Porto for his services.
For their part, Porto appear to want to hold on to him until next summer, and having advanced to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, they can probably do that. It won't hurt, either, that they can guarantee a starting role for Neves ahead of next summer's Euros. Liverpool or Arsenal would have to offer a lot to change their thinking.
Particularly for Liverpool, though, if they've decided he's a primary target it could be worth paying over the odds in January rather than waiting for next summer, when a second full season at the club level and a potential role with the Portuguese national team at the Euros could end with Neves being talked about in the same breath as Paul Pogba.