Chelsea and Liverpool will face off in a tug-of-war in a bid to capture Porto’s rising star Ruben Neves.
That is according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola, who have reported that the Premier League champions will duke it out with the Reds to try and land the 20-year-old in the summer transfer window.
Porto have already lost star striker Andre Silva after the 21-year-old opted to complete a £32m switch to Serie A side AC Milan, and the Portuguese giants would be loathe to lose another key player ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Today’s A Bola: Following André Silva’s departure, Rúben Neves will be next to leave Porto with Chelsea and Liverpool set to fight over him. pic.twitter.com/44Cr38yEhO
— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) June 13, 2017
Their chances of holding onto Neves may be slim, however, as Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp both harbour ambitions of tempting the defensive midfielder to join their causes at Stamford Bridge and Anfield respectively.
Neves is currently contracted to Porto until the summer of 2019 and, according to his valuation on transfermarkt, would cost at least £8.5m for any possible opening bid to be made, although you would expect him to cost much more than that figure.
If either Premier League club are serious about signing the Portugal Under-21 international, though, they may need to invoke the release clause fee in Neves’ contract, which is rumoured to stand at around 40m euros (£35m).
Chelsea were believed to have made a £24m+ offer for Neves’ services last summer just weeks after Conte took up the reins of the Londoners, but negotiations failed to move on to the next stage as the Blues turned their heads towards other transfer targets.
Neves only made 18 appearances for Porto last term as he found himself demoted to the substitutes’ bench for much of the 2016/17 campaign.
Such a move proved to be a setback for the Santa Maria de Feira-born footballer after he clocked 38 appearances and 37 appearances in 2015/16 and 2014/15 respectively.
A Bola say LFC and Chelsea are considering a move for Porto midfielder Ruben Neves. Next on the list behind Keita and Milinkovic-Savic?
— LiverpoolFF (@LiverpoolFF) June 13, 2017
A muscle strain and knee contusion did not help matters throughout last season, but his lack of game time will not have deterred Chelsea or Liverpool in their rumoured pursuit of his signature.
Blues and Reds fans will be able to keep tabs on Neves themselves as he prepares to take part in the European Under-21 Championships in the Netherlands, with Portugal set to face Serbia in their first match of the tournament on Saturday.
Read more from Tom Power by following him on Twitter!