- Ruben Neves keen on Premier League return after heading to Saudi Pro League in June
- Arsenal keen on Neves as search for new midfielder continues
- Newcastle also interested but could be restricted from loan deal under new rules
Arsenal have been alerted to the possible availability of midfield target Ruben Neves ahead of the January transfer window, sources have confirmed to 90min.
Neves brought down the curtain on a six-year stay in England over the summer when he left Wolverhampton Wanderers for Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal. The move came as a shock as the 26-year-old was a proven top-level player entering his prime years.
But after less than half a year in Saudi Arabia, 90min understands that Neves is keen on returning to the Premier League, and Arsenal could offer him a route back to Europe.
Arsenal are looking to bring in a new midfielder during the January window. Thomas Partey’s future at the club is increasingly uncertain, while he is also currently sidelined for a long-term period with a muscle injury.
Mikel Arteta is keen to bolster his midfield ranks / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
Neves, who may be available on a loan deal, is one player of interest to the Gunners – 90min has reported over the last month they have been monitoring the likes of Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, Fluminense’s Andre, Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi and Joao Neves of Benfica.
Newcastle United also want Neves, but their plans to bring him in during the January window could be scuppered by a Premier League rule change. 90min understands top-flight clubs will meet later this month to vote on legislation that would ban clubs owned by the same entity from loaning players to one another.
The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund have a majority 80% stake in Newcastle, while they have control of four Saudi Pro League clubs – Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli. At this stage, it is unclear whether they would entertain allowing a player of Neves’ quality to join one of the Magpies’ Premier League rivals.
Neves has played 17 games for Al Hilal since signing for them in June, scoring twice and adding one assist. He still remains an integral part of Roberto Martinez’s Portugal setup and has joined up with the Selecao for their November internationals.