Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves has opened up on the whirlwind transfer saga surrounding his future in the summer, claiming that “everything was ready” for him to depart.
The 25-year-old quickly settled into life in the Premier League after helping Wolves achieve promotion in 2018 and has played every minute for the club in the top flight this season.
Neves’s futures at Molineux has been called into question over the past couple of years given his exploits in the top flight, and he was strongly expected to head elsewhere in the summer.
Manchester United and Arsenal were both credited with an interest in the Portugal international, who now has less than two years on his contract with Bruno Lage‘s side.
However, Wolves were alleged to have slapped a £70m price tag on the head of Neves, and the ex-Porto man stayed put for his sixth season with the Premier League side.
Now, Neves – who has worn the captain’s armband for Wolves during the 2022-23 season – has revealed that he was expecting to move on in the summer, but he is happy to still be at Molineux.
“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,” Neves told the Express and Star.
“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.
“I am really happy here, like I always say. After the last game last season, I said that we have a short career to follow our dreams, but everyone knows I’m really happy here as well.
“There’s no secrets with that. I had a chance to go, I didn’t go and I stayed, and I will give 200 per cent for this club because they have given me a lot. 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.”
However, Neves kept his cards close to his chest when questioned on the possibility of a new deal, adding: “There’s nothing about that at the moment, I’m thinking about playing and to keep playing the way I am right now. We have a long journey to go this season so that’s where I will focus myself.”
The Portuguese has totalled 25 goals and 12 assists in 219 outings for Wolves in all competitions since joining from Porto in 2017 and scored his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United last month.
After dropping their interest in Neves and conceding defeat in their efforts to sign Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, Man United ultimately secured the signature of Casemiro from Real Madrid for £70m.
Meanwhile, Arsenal failed to add to their holding midfield ranks, although the Gunners are believed to have seen as many as three deadline-day bids for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz turned down.
Wolves have taken six points from their opening six Premier League games to sit 14th in the table and are next in action against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.