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Ruben Neves: Wolves midfielder finalises £47m Al Hilal move to become latest player to move to Saudi Arabia

Ruben Neves looks set to move to Al Hilal after Wolves agree £47m fee with Saudi Arabian side; personal terms have been agreed and Neves is open to the move after a potential transfer to Barcelona stalled; Neves has one year left on his current Wolves contract

Ruben Neves celebrates after scoring Wolves' third goal against Liverpool
Image: Ruben Neves is on the brink of swapping Wolves for Al Hilal

Al Hilal have finalised a deal to sign Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves for £47m.

Neves has agreed personal terms and a formal announcement is expected this week. The midfielder is open to the move after a potential transfer to Barcelona stalled.

Neves told Sky Sports towards the end of the season that he wanted to play Champions League football as he addressed uncertainty regarding his future.

"Let's see what's going to happen. I always say the same thing, I truly love to be here. But I never hide that I want to play Champions League football," he said.

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Wolves captain Neves admitted he had a huge decision to make in the off-season as he wants to fulfil his dream of Champions League football

"In football you need to go for your main goals and that will be a massive decision for me and my family."

The 26-year-old, whose contract at Molineux is due to expire next summer, had also been been linked with Manchester United in recent transfer windows.

Portugal midfielder Neves scored six goals and registered one assist in 35 Premier League appearances for Wolves during the 2022/23 Premier League season.

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He arrived at Wolves from Porto in July 2017 and has played 253 times for the club.

Neves would become just the latest high-profile player to make the move to the Saudi Pro League, following in the footsteps of his international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr in December last year.

Karim Benzema completed his move to Al Ittihad on Tuesday
Image: Karim Benzema completed his move to Al Ittihad earlier this summer

Former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, the reigning Ballon d'Or winner, has also transferred to Saudi Arabia this summer. The 35-year-old signed for Al Ittihad, who are coached by former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, after ending his 14-year stay with Real Madrid.

Reports suggest Chelsea trio N'Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly and Hakim Ziyech are attracting interest from Saudi Arabia, while Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez is another potential target for clubs in the Gulf State.

Ceferin: Saudi Pro League no threat to European football

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European football should not be afraid of a player exodus to Saudi Arabia, says UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

European football should not be afraid of a player exodus to Saudi Arabian clubs, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Sunday, suggesting the country was making a mistake investing in stars at the end of their careers.

Ronaldo and Benzema have taken hundreds of millions of dollars to join Saudi Arabian clubs this year and similar offers were made to Lionel Messi and Luka Modric. They have combined to win every Ballon d'Or awarded since 2008 and all are aged at least 35.

More players are expected to follow after four top Saudi Arabian clubs were effectively nationalised this month when taken into majority ownership by the Public Investment Fund sovereign wealth operation chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Ceferin was asked by Dutch broadcaster NOS if he was scared of a player exodus, and answered emphatically: "No, no, no."

"I think that it's mainly a mistake for Saudi Arabian football," the UEFA president said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

"Why is that a problem for them? Because they should invest in academies, they should bring coaches, and they should develop their own players."

He added: "The system of buying the players that almost ended their career is not the system that develops football. It was a similar mistake in China when they all brought players who are at the end of their career."

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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