Arsenal target ‘the chosen one’ to succeed Busquets at Barca; Man City star Xavi’s ‘wet dream’

Reported Arsenal target Ruben Neves celebrates his goal Credit: Alamy
Reported Arsenal target Ruben Neves celebrates his goal Credit: Alamy

FC Barcelona are reportedly hoping to beat Arsenal and Manchester United to the signing of Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.

The Portuguese playmaker was expected to leave Molineux during the summer transfer window, but a move did not come to fruition.

The 25-year-old even admitted that he had his bags packed with Barcelona, United and Arsenal believed to be interested.

“It’s football, you never know what will happen in football,” Neves said.

“At that time [in May] almost everything was ready for me to go, but this is football and you can see I am completely focused on being here.

“What I am doing and what the team is doing since the start of the season means that I am 100 per cent focused on here. I want to keep going and have another great season here.”

A move to Old Trafford is perhaps less likely than one to Arsenal or Barcelona after Erik ten Hag brought in Casemiro from Real Madrid.

The Red Devils had relentlessly pursued Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, but the Dutch midfielder did not want to leave the Blaugrana in the summer.

The La Liga giants are open to the sale of De Jong and for some bizarre reason do not see him as the ideal successor to Sergio Busquets, who is set to leave the club at the end of the season.

Busquets has been an incredible servant for the Catalan club, winning three Champions Leagues, eight La Liga titles, and seven Copa del Reys.

The 35-year-old formed one of the greatest midfield trios of all time alongside Andres Iniesta and his current boss Xavi Hernandez.

They are pretty big boots to fill, and Neves is ‘the chosen one’, according to Spanish outlet Sport.

Still looking to offload De Jong in order to raise funds for more transfers, Barcelona seem adamant that the former Ajax youngster is not their chosen one.

If they cannot afford Neves, Barca will delve into the South American market with Danilo and Andrey Santos also on their shortlist.

‘The most logical’ way to sign the Portugal international is via a loan with a mandatory buy option.

There is apparently a salary agreement with the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, and a transfer agreement with Wolves.

It is added that there is another ‘vacancy’ in Xavi’s midfield, however, and it is unclear who will be signed to fill that void.

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva was linked with a move to the Camp Nou throughout the summer window but Barca failed to meet the Citizens’ asking price of around £70million.

The report states that Silva is Xavi’s ‘wet dream’, which is a very interesting phrase to use.

Barca were knocked out of the Champions League this week, meaning they will play in the Europa League knockout stage for the second season in a row.

Inter Milan’s victory over Viktoria Plzen meant the Catalan club would finish third in their group, with a 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich rubbing salt in the wounds.

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