De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Until now, Manchester United’s transfer priority for the summer window has been Frenkie de Jong. They’ve put plenty of resources towards a deal for the Barcelona star but, with the 25-year-old reluctance to leave the Nou Camp, his future remains in limbo. And that means they could move for Ruben Neves, a player who Bruno Fernandes would apparently love to have at Old Trafford.
Speaking recently, talkSPORT host Alex Crook claimed Neves was on United’s radar in case their pursuit of De Jong failed.
“I think they should probably walk away sooner, to be honest, bearing in mind the first contact between Manchester United and Barcelona was the middle of May – we are almost in the middle of July,” he stated.
“This is a ridiculous situation. It has been a saga for too long. Either it’s going to happen or it’s not.
“I know Manchester United have a back-up list. Youri Tielemans is on that list, as I understand it, as is Ruben Neves from Wolves.
“I would call Barcelona’s bluff now and say ‘either you sell him to us, or we will pay the same money and sign Ruben Neves’.
“He’s a player who is proven in the Premier League.”
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And, a year ago, journalist Dean Jones claimed that United star Fernandes was in favour of his compatriot moving to Old Trafford.
“Bruno Fernandes is obviously very keen for Neves to join and the club are aware of that,” he told The Football Terrace at the time.
So, with that being the case, it’s possible Ronaldo will agree as well.
The 37-year-old has turned out alongside Neves for Portugal, with the pair helping their country win the Nations League in 2019.
And history suggests Ronaldo would like more of his compatriots around him.
During his first stint at United, he mentored Nani and even allowed the former Sporting Lisbon star to live in his house.
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At Real Madrid, he was close to Fabio Coentrao and Pepe – with some even claiming the former was kept at the club because Ronaldo wanted more countrymen around him.
And while Ronaldo hasn’t publicly praised Neves, the Wolves star has returned the favour.
In June, the former Porto midfielder insisted his team-mate was the ‘best player in the world’.
“Obviously, Cristiano is the best player in the world and it’s always good to play with him,” he said.
Since returning to United, Ronaldo has struck up a close bond with both Portuguese players and Portuguese speakers.
He’s close to Fernandes, with the pair hoping to do better next term when the Erik ten Hag era gets properly started.
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Ronaldo is also believed to have a good relationship with Diogo Dalot, too.
And Brazilians such as Alex Telles and Fred are also members of the veteran’s inner circle.
With United needing to keep Ronaldo happy, especially given his desire to leave, a move for Neves would make sense.
De Jong is their priority for now but there’s a sense that, the more his saga goes on, the less likely he is to join.
Regarding Ronaldo, meanwhile, former United star Teddy Sheringham thinks his old team should offload the veteran this summer.
“I half saw it coming,” Sheringham told Sportsmail. “People are saying shall Ten Hag build his team around Ronaldo, but if he wants to go, he goes. That opens up a whole new corridor for United.
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“You could get in two or three players on that sort of wage and that is a lot of money they could spend each month.
“Life goes on, he wants to go and play somewhere else, so get players in that you know who are going to be strong and stable throughout the season.
“Ronaldo will have been watching what has been going on, he will feel the vibes from how it was in Fergie’s time and how the club is being run now and he will get the vibes that he does not like what he is seeing going on.
“If you stand still in football, you fall and maybe Ronaldo sees the same. Where is that big signing coming from?
“If I’m Ronaldo now, I’m saying go on then United, excite me…what are you doing in the transfer market.
“Ronaldo has got maybe another year or two years max at the top level and he deserves to enjoy his football at the top of his game.”
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