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Barcelona ‘make Ruben Neves top target to replace Sergio Busquets’

Barcelona ‘make Ruben Neves top target to replace Sergio Busquets’

Barcelona have reportedly identified Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves as their primary target to replace Sergio Busquets.

Busquets has spent his entire career with the Catalan giants, but his long-term future at the club is believed to be uncertain as his contract is due to expire next summer.

The 34-year-old has recently been linked with a potential switch to MLS outfit Inter Miami, but the Spaniard has played down such speculation.

“I can’t tell you anything because there’s nothing. There is nothing despite the rumours that have appeared. There is nothing official. I’ll see how I’m doing this season. There is nothing,” Busquets told reporters during the international break.

“I want to enjoy myself and then I will see. It is clear that I am not 20 years old. A priori, it is the last year of my contract, but things have been made official that are false.”

Wolves captain Ruben Neves in action on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Nevertheless, it is thought that Barcelona are preparing for life without Busquets, and Sport reports that Wolves midfielder Neves is their number one target to replace him next summer.

The report adds that Barca made contact with both Wolves and Neves earlier this summer, but a proposed transfer for the 25-year-old to Camp Nou failed to bear fruit due to ‘economic differences’.

Neves admitted shortly after the summer transfer window shut that “everything was ready” for him to leave Molineux amid interest from the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Speaking to the Express and Star, Neves said: “It’s football, you never know what will happen in football. At that time almost everything was ready for me to go, but this is football and you can see I am completely focused on being here.

“There’s no secrets with that. I had a chance to go, I didn’t go and I stayed, and I will give 200% for this club because they have given me a lot.

Ruben Neves in action for Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 6, 2022© Reuters

“They’ve given me the best things I’ve had in football for now and I want to give everything for them. I will give my best to help the club.”

Neves has less than 18 months remaining on his current contract and Wolves may be forced to cash in on the Portugal international if he chooses not to renew his deal.

Since joining Wolves from Porto in 2017, Neves has been an integral figure in their midfield, scoring 25 goals and registering 12 assists in 220 appearances across all competitions.

Barcelona have also been linked with Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi, who is believed to be Xavi‘s preferred choice to succeed Busquets.

However, Sociedad are under no immediate pressure to cash in on the 23-year-old, who is under contract until June 2025 and allegedly has a €60m (£52.5m) release clause.

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