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Ruben Neves "wants to stay" at Al-Hilal amid Newcastle United, Arsenal links

© Reuters
Ruben Neves insists that he "wants to stay" at Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal despite reported interest from the likes of Newcastle United and Arsenal.

Ruben Neves has insisted that he "wants to stay" at Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal despite reported interest from the likes of Newcastle United and Arsenal.

The 26-year-old ended his six-year association with Wolverhampton Wanderers to make the surprise move to Al-Hilal for a reported £47m in the summer, signing a three-year contract.

Neves has since made 19 appearances for the Middle Eastern club, who currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Saudi Pro League table, but the midfielder has been tipped to make a swift return to the Premier League.

Newcastle have been strongly linked with a move for Neves as manager Eddie Howe looks to fill the void left behind by midfielder Sandro Tonali, who is serving a 10-month suspension from football for breaching betting rules.

Previous reports suggested that the Magpies had identified Neves as their primary midfield target ahead of the January transfer window and that the Portuguese was 'dreaming' of a transfer to St James' Park.

Speculation surrounding Neves has primarily focused on Newcastle as they share the same majority shareholder – Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) – as Al-Hilal.

Al-Hilal's Ruben Neves in action with Al Shabab's Yannick Carrasco on September 29, 2023© Reuters

Last month, Newcastle were cleared to recruit players from the Saudi Pro League in January after Premier League clubs voted against a temporary ban on loan moves for players between associated clubs, seemingly providing the Magpies with a boost in their pursuit of Neves.

A number of other clubs including Arsenal and Manchester City have also been credited with an interest in Neves, but the midfielder has since expressed his desire to remain at Al-Hilal.

Speaking to BBC Sport about his future, Neves said: "I don't go. I think that's rumours because of the owner of the clubs of course, and because I've played in England as well.

"There was Newcastle interest before I came here but I'm really happy here, my family's really happy, so I'm having a great time."

"Everything is going really well for me and I want to stay here," Neves added.

Newcastle, who have been hampered with injuries in recent weeks, could turn their attention to other reported targets including Man City's Kalvin Phillips, who is seemingly surplus to requirements under Pep Guardiola.

The Magpies have also been linked with the likes of Manchester United's Donny van de Beek, Valencia's Javi Guerra and Neves' Al-Hilal teammate Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

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