Chelsea must avoid falling into £35m January transfer window trap laid by Manchester United – Anita Abayomi

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Given Chelsea’s injury woes in midfield this season it’s perhaps no surprise to see Thomas Tuchel linked with a move for Wolves star Ruben Neves.

The Portugal international has long been linked with a move to Manchester United, and so the prospect of beating United in the race for Neves’ signature is certainly an appealing one.

It’s crazy to think Neves is still just 24 years of age and so there’s still plenty of time for him to mature into an even better player. Wolves have developed an uncanny knack for unearthing hidden gems in foreign leagues over the past few years, and the impact Diogo Jota has had since his switch to Liverpool only heightens the appeal of making a move for Neves.

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Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has been linked with a move to Chelsea. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has been linked with a move to Chelsea

Jota always looked lively during his time at Wolves, however, he’s improved immensely since his mega-money Liverpool move.

Jota’s success in stepping up his game since swapping Molineux for Anfield coupled with Premier League rivals United’s interest in Neves may well convince Tuchel to make a move for the Wolves midfielder.

However, Chelsea can’t afford to be lured into a bidding war and should instead continue their pursuit of Declan Rice.

It’s important to note that I think Neves is a brilliant player. He always looks comfortable in possession, his long-range passing is up there with some of the best in the league and he even has an eye for goal.

As a central midfielder, he would fit in perfectly at Stamford Bridge, however, he still has work to do on the defensive side of his game.

Bruno Lage recently admitted as much when he said of Neves: “He is 24 and is in the best stage to understand he needs to give another dimension to his game.

“I know him and when we have the ball he knows everything. So he needs to work hard in the defensive way to control in the middle.

“To think like ‘the middle is my space and I need to control it and be the best man in there’.”

Chelsea’s struggles in the absence of a defensive midfielder further support the need to sign Rice in the summer rather than splashing a lot of money on Neves.

While Jorginho can take control of the midfield and dictate the tempo of a game, the Italian needs a ball-winning midfielder alongside him who can do the dirty work.

With both N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic missing in recent weeks, Jorginho has struggled to anchor the midfield. Though neither Kovacic nor Kante would be classed solely as a defensive midfielder, they are able to break up play and so Jorginho is able to concentrate on playing progressive football.

It’s being reported that Neves could be available for £35million, but, given he would likely struggle to break up play alongside Jorginho, I believe the Blues would be much better off trying to sign Rice in the summer.

Perhaps United’s interest in Neves has only resurfaced in a bid to lure Chelsea into thrashing out a deal for him, thus leaving United free to secure a deal for Rice in the summer? Or maybe I’m just being silly.

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Source by Football London

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