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Manchester United may just have been handed the perfect transfer incentive after Wolves struck a £42million agreement with Sporting for Matheus Nunes. The energetic Portuguese box-to-box midfielder is a name that should have been on United’s shortlist but instead, Molineux chiefs have pounced to secure one of the signings of the summer.
Yet despite United’s lack of nous and shortcomings in the market there is one potentially game-changing positive for the Red Devils.
Nunes’ arrival in the Black Country could potentially provide United with an incentive to make their move for Ruben Neves, a player that would immediately improve their tame midfield options.
United supporters have grown tired of both Scott McTominay and Fred and new steel is required in the middle of the park.
The Old Trafford board have spent around 14 weeks waiting for developments on Frenkie de Jong but on Monday, there was some suggestion in Holland that their offer had expired.
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Should that be the case, it is finally time to move onto other targets with Neves the pick of the bunch. The outstanding technician has qualities that would benefit United in both halves of the pitch.
They are desperately lacking somebody who can dictate the tempo of a match – something Neves can do with ease, as he’s shown on numerous occasions with Wolves.
He was actually expecting to move on at the end of last season when he bid an emotional farewell to the club’s fans at the end of the campaign.
Wolves, too, were expected to entertain a sale due to Neves’ dwindling contract but no offers arrived for the 25-year-old.
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The capture of Nunes would ease the pressure on Wolves should a suitable proposal present itself. Bruno Lage will still be hoping to pair the two international team-mates together but ultimately, the club may find it hard to stand in Neves’ way should United come calling.
Erik ten Hag has no option but to dip into the market now for reinforcements after a challenging start at United boss. His current side are simply miles off the pace and do not have the quality that is required to make the top four.
Neves would be the perfect starting point. He is now donning the captain’s armband at Wolves and has bundles of experience – despite being just 25.
He currently has two years remaining on his deal at Molineux and any big offer that arrives is likely to be considered.
United cannot afford to waste any more time on a deal for De Jong – a player who has made it clear countless times that he wants to stay at Barcelona.
Even if he is to depart Camp Nou – which seems unlikely – Chelsea are his preferred destination of choice as they can offer him Champions League football.
Neves is a top-level competitor, who is already accustomed to Premier League football.
An offer upwards of £50m would likely seal the deal and now Nunes is set to arrive at Wolves, there is an additional incentive to try and push this one over the line…
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