Wolves break transfer record for Portuguese star

London (AFP) – Highly-rated Portugal Under-21 international Ruben Neves became second-tier English side Wolverhampton Wanderers’ record signing on Saturday, joining the Chinese-owned team from Porto for a reported £15.8 million ($20.3m, 17.9m euros).

The 20-year-old — who in 2015 became the youngest Champions League captain of all time in a match with Israeli outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv — signed a five-year contract and is reunited with former Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

Nuno, who was discharged from his duties as Porto coach in May after a trophyless season, also signed on loan another Porto player, centre-back Willy Boly.

The influx of Portuguese players and coach reflects the close relationship between the club’s Chinese owners Fosun and agent Jorge Mendes. 

Nuno is bidding to revive Wolves’ fortunes, who struggled to 15th last season and have not tasted Premier League football since being relegated in 2012.

“Ruben is a very good player who can bring new things to our squad,” Nuno told the BBC.

“I know him well, I worked with him last year.

“When a player who is 18 years old is captain of a big team like Porto, in the Champions League, it says a lot,” added the 43-year-old former goalkeeper.

Neves, who played for his country in the recent European Under-21 championships in Poland, said he was delighted to be reunited with Nuno.

“I have always wanted to play in England and we have a good team,” Neves told the club website.

“I think we can do good things this season. It is also a good opportunity for me to work again with a trainer I worked with last year,” added Neves, who scored four goals in 92 appearances for Porto.

His fee breaks the previous record set in January when Wolves signed Portuguese winger Helder Costa from Benfica for £13m.

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