Even as they stand as two of the biggest clubs in England, Manchester United and Manchester City have made contrasting starts to their league campaigns. Both teams were active in the summer transfer market, scouting for players who can improve their side. They have often been found going after the same player in the past and something similar could happen in the winter transfer window with both teams reportedly eyeing a move for Ruben Neves.
The Portuguese international was crucial in Wolves winning the Championship title last season and has been impressive in the first few games in the Premier League this season. He has been a transfer target for City since the end of the previous campaign but reports now suggest that Manchester United could make a move for him in January if City submit an offer. An exclusive from Metro claims that he could cost around £60m, which should not be a problem for either club. But where does he fit in better? Old Trafford or Etihad?
Chances At Old Trafford
The Red Devils spent on Nemanja Matic last year and were repaid handsomely with the Serbian one of standout players in their best season in the post-Ferguson era. Jose Mourinho also has Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini who can play in that role while Fred, their signing from a couple of months ago, was also brought in to add depth.
But the latter has failed to show any kind of promise and might need time to make an impact. This leaves Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba as the only players who can add creativity to the side in the middle of the park. This is where Neves could be handy.
Playing alongside Matic, Neves can be the deep-lying playmaker and can concentrate on his offensive duties more, with the Serbian adding cover to the backline. He will also allow Pogba to push further forward, as he is more than capable of doing the dirty work in the middle of the park. He will certainly lend a balance to the United midfield, that could make them real title contenders in years to come.
Chances At Etihad
But under Pep Guardiola, one of the best coaches in the world, Neves can play in his natural no.6 role, replacing Fernandinho, who is in the final years of his career. His passing range and vision sit in well with Pep’s system while his ability to create chances from the centre of the pitch and also score goals from long range, will actually make City a better side.
There are very few players in Europe who can improve the quality in the squad at Etihad but Neves is one player, who will walk into the first team. At United, he could replace Matic in the long run but at City, he might be preferred over Fernandinho straight away and could make more of an impact.
His playing style makes him a better fit for Manchester City but it is United who need him more than City. He will surely be a match winner at either club but for his progress, the potential of regular game time under Pep Guardiola is the best way to forward for the 21-year-old.