Bruno Lage has admitted Wolves’ shortcomings as Chelsea and Manchester United look to fulfil the wishes of Ruben Neves.
The Champions League contenders have both recently been linked with a move for 24-year-old Neves. And the former Porto midfielder spoke of his desire to compete in Europe once again during an interview in his native Portugal this week.
His boss Lage is therefore aware that all the west Midlands club can do to keep him at Molineux is to take the next step in the Premier League.
He said: “Ruben feels this is his second home – and happiness comes with that.
“That’s good, but it’s another thing to convince him to stay. It’s not about a contract or money. It’s about creating a big team that fights for different things.
“Ruben is in that place where he needs a different challenge. And we also want a different challenge for the club.”
Wolves face United on Monday at Old Trafford. Neves will face off against his international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, whom Lage highlighted as an influential figure for his star man.
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“We want to push younger guys, like Ruben, to the next level,” Lage added.
“He plays alongside Joao Moutinho every day. It’s the little details that count. But players such as Ronaldo also have big experience. And when you play with these guys, you learn.
“When you are criticised, you need to focus in training.
“Guys like Cristiano and Joao, now in their 30s, have enjoyed the careers they have because they possess big mentalities.”
Neves has been mentioned in the Red Devils midfield conversation for some time, while the Blues are new to the battle.
His lengthy contract has previously been an obstacle to his signature. However, it’s 2024 expiry is edging closer and a big move looks to now be on the cards.
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Lage also cheekily suggested Ronaldo can come and play for him amid claims the 36-year-old is unhappy at United.
“He’s a machine,” said the Wolves manager. “Cristiano Ronaldo just wants to score and score and score. He lives for that. He’s a massive player and every team in the world would…