Newcastle are weighing up a “shock swoop” for ex-Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, according to The Sun.
The English tabloid claims that the Portuguese international is being targeted as a replacement for Sandro Tonali, who is set to be banned for 10 months for betting infringements.
Neves only moved to Al-Hilal in the summer for £47m but the Magpies are considering a loan offer for the player.
With Saudi Arabia’s season running from August to May, much like most of Europe, it must be said that it would be a surprise if Al-Hilal are willing to let Neves leave midway through the campaign.
He would be an ideal replacement for Tonali
The midfielder is still only 26 years of age and he is in the prime of his career, despite making the switch to the Middle East.
Neves has also played 177 games in the Premier League so there would be no concerns about adaptation, which is a big factor as he will be joining mid-season.
In addition, he has been proven to be a consistent performer at the top level, having attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United in the past.
Newcastle are considering alternatives to Neves
Another major obstacle is the player’s wages. It is believed that Neves is currently earning £300,000 a week, which is nearly double the salary of Newcastle’s highest earner Bruno Guimaraes.
If the Magpies can’t secure the Portuguese star’s services, there are alternatives, with The Sun suggesting that Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips is also on the club’s radar.
However, unlike Neves, it is doubtful whether the England international would be available on loan and that could present an issue, considering Newcastle are very limited on funds due to Financial Fair Play restrictions.