Ruben Neves looks set to snub a winter return to the Premier League despite interest from Arsenal and Newcastle United, according to reports.
The Portugal international has emerged as a priority target for the two sides in the January window, with Mikel Arteta and Eddie Howe both in need of midfield reinforcements.
Arsenal will be without Thomas Partey until at least the start of the new year after he underwent surgery, while he will then be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving the Gunners light on options.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be without marquee summer signing Sandro Tonali until next season after he was handed a 10-month ban for breaching betting rules.
The Magpies were quickly linked with a loan swoop for Neves, who has been playing for Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League since leaving Wolves in a £47million deal in the summer.
However, given that Newcastle are Saudi-owned, any potential deal between them and the Public Investment Fund-backed Al-Hilal would prompt a backlash in the Premier League.
In fact, Premier League chiefs are already looking to bring in a temporary ban on loans between teams who operate under the same ownership, beginning in January.
Regardless of the outcome of those talks, The Athletic are reporting that Neves is highly unlikely to move to either Newcastle or even Arsenal.
As things stand, the 26-year-old is expected to remain with Al-Hilal until at least the end of the season.
Neves is happy and settled at the Riyadh-based side and has quickly established himself as a key player for the SPL leaders.
While Arsenal and Newcastle may be interested, there have been no formal approaches or negotiations regarding Neves’ potential exit and he is happy to see out the campaign and try to secure silverware in multiple competitions.
Al-Hilal are also particularly reluctant to let Neves leave because of injuries sustained to two of their other high-profile recruits, Neymar and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Arsenal and Newcastle will have to look elsewhere for midfield reinforcements, with the Gunners also linked with a move for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz – though it is unlikely Unai Emery’s high-flying side will countenance a sale as they dare to dream of Champions League qualification.
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