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Barcelona Transfer News: Ruben Neves Eyed Amid Real Madrid, Chelsea Rumours

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 24 Sep 2015

A string of standout performances in the Portuguese top flight have seen Porto starlet Ruben Neves earn the attention of Barcelona, but Real Madrid and Chelsea are ready to battle for the player's services in January. The Blaugrana will be free to do business in the new year when their transfer embargo expires, and Portuguese newspaperRecordclaims manager Luis Enrique's side are in the hunt to sign midfield prospect Neves (via Spanish newspaperSport):He is a central midfielder capable of moving the ball with precision, link up well in attack and he mature for his age. Some of Europes biggest sides are keeping an eye on him and have been doing so for a long while, even though he is still not guaranteed a place in Portos starting lineup.The report adds Neves' release clause currently stands at 40 million (29.5 million), a fee Barca may be willing to fork out depending on how desperate they are to beef up their midfield resources.However, Chelsea are alleged to have acted first in pursuit of the Portugal under-21 international after Portuguese newspaperA Bola reported the Blues sent scouts to watch Neves in action, per James Cambridge of theDaily Express.Chelsea travel to Porto for a Champions League group-stage clash on September 29, and Blues manager Jose Mourinho may take a fancy toward his young compatriot should Neves feature against the Premier League champions.Metro's Portuguese expert Jan Hagen confirmed Neves as a particularly impressive prodigy among the Primeira Liga ranks, having already been heavily involved in Porto's European squad the last two seasons:Neves has made a steady rise through the age groups at the international level and is eyeing a senior cap next after representing Portugal at every level from under-15 through to under-21 standard.Barcelona are in need of midfield options, too, after BBC Sport's Andy West pointed out the lightweight look of their squad following Rafinha's serious anterior cruciate ligament injury earlier this month:Enrique has been forced to play with his central options as a result, although Sergi Roberto may be viewed as insufficient backup to Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets.Although his roots lie as an anchor, Neves has shown a wide range of attributes during his steady evolution through Porto's first team and has started in each of his club's last two league outings:Barca have even utilised full-back Dani Alves in a midfield role after seeing their options reduced of late, with the Brazilian telling Barca TV he'll "play wherever necessary," perSport.It's been more than 11 years since Portuguese playmaker Deco completed a move to the Camp Nou from the Estadio do Dragao, but Barca will face steep competition if Neves is to follow that same path.
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