If it’s in A Bola, it’s probably safe to dismiss out of hand. Which is bad news for Liverpool fans hoping that today’s rumblings of renewed interest in Porto holding midfielder Ruben Neves might amount to something. On the surface, though, the cost appears too high and Neves not to play at a priority position.
Following the end of the season, Jürgen Klopp was asked specifically about bringing in a new holding player and insisted that the club wouldn’t do so—that they had enough cover for the six role in Jordan Henderson and Emre Can and that other positions were where what needed strengthening.
And their top midfield target, Naby Keïta, is categorically not a holding midfielder—he would arrive, if he were to arrive, to fill a shuttling role alongside Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, with plans next season to shift Philippe Coutinho between that role and one on the wing depending on opponent.
Rumoured Plan B, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, would fill a similar role. But that hasn’t stopped A Bola from linking Neves with Liverpool and saying Porto want €60M for him—a fee they believe Liverpool would come close to meeting. A Bola, it’s worth noting, also started the Gelson Martins rumours.
Martins was quickly picked up by the English press to fill the void when Liverpool clamped down on leaks to the press following the Virgil van Dijk debacle, but it has been clear for some time now that if Liverpool are interested in him at all, he isn’t first choice. First choice on the wing remains Mohamed Salah.
In the case of Martins, too, there was a rather unlikely €50M fee meant to be attatched to him according to the Portuguese outlet—who linked a further half dozen high priced Liga players with the Reds last summer, each and every case turning out to be nothing. So. Once again Liverpool want Neves.
At least according to A Bola and, now, the English press who have picked up on it. Despite that Liverpool were genuinely interested in Neves at one point, the source of the rumour makes it hard to take seriously. As does the fact Neves would cost too much at a position well down the priority list.