Liverpool’s interest in Porto midfielder Ruben Neves is mounting, according to reports, after the club were encouraged to make an approach.
Neves, the 18-year-old Portuguese, could become the “best-paid teenager in world football” if a proposed move to Liverpool is secured.
That is according to the Mirror‘s European correspondent Ed Malyon, who claims that the Reds have already gauged Neves’ interest in a possible move to Merseyside, with this being “welcomed by the player’s entourage.”
“Neves, 18, has attracted the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs for his playmaking abilities but Liverpool are the first to make their interest known in a deal that, provisionally, could make Neves the best-paid teenager in world football,” Malyon writes.
“The Reds are long-term admirers of the teenager…and stepped up their watching of the youngster in the second half of 2015.”
Neves is Porto’s youngest-ever captain, Primeira Liga goalscorer and Champions League debutant, underlining his ability and potential.
An intelligent, deep-lying midfielder, Neves would offer new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp another defensive-midfield option, but unlike current incumbent Lucas Leiva, he would give the Reds a more progressive element in the engine room.
At just 18, Neves’ price tag of just under £30 million is decidedly steep, however.
But if Klopp and the Reds’ transfer committee decide that he is likely to develop into a top-level player, this may be a worthy investment.
According to Malyon, Klopp may have already given the green light to pursue this deal.
“While Liverpool’s interest pre-dates Jurgen Klopp, the fact that the wheels have been put into motion to secure Neves suggests that the new Anfield boss has given his blessing,” he continues.
“On being hired by the Merseyside club, Klopp insisted that he will have ‘the first and last word’ on transfers , but is unlikely to shut down a deal for one of the world’s brightest young talents.”
Klopp is seemingly happy to rely on youth in his new position on Merseyside, and the addition of Neves would continue this approach.
The Porto midfielder is of the highest calibre for his age group, and could go on to become a world-class player—a standard Liverpool have been missing in this role since Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid in 2009.