Football

Chelsea may have found a star in Porto's Ruben Neves after defeat

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If you're looking to make an impression on one of Europe's most decorated managers, having a great game against his team is an excellent way of doing so.

That's exactly what FC Porto midfielder Ruben Neves did against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in their Champions League tie in Portugal's second city on Tuesday night.

The 18-year-old showed why he's one of the hottest properties in Portuguese football, with an assured performance showing composure, technical ability and tactical awareness way beyond his fledgling years in his team's 2-1 win.

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It won't have come as a great surprise to the Chelsea hierarchy, though, given that they've been linked with a January move for the youngster amidst attempts to revive their troubled season.

Porto's number six went through his passing repertoire and showed some nifty footwork in tight situations against Chelsea's illustrious midfield trio of John Obi Mikel, Cesc Fabregas and Ramires, suggesting he could be ready for a bigger stage.

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Possession-confident Neves made his debut for Porto as a 17-year-old and quickly became a regular starter, displacing experienced Mexico international Hector Herrera and with it garnering the attention from across the continent.

He's also showed an eye for goal and is Porto's youngest ever league goalscorer - an impressive feat for a defensive midfielder. 

It wouldn't be the first time a Portuguese youth's performance against Premier League opposition triggered a move. Cristiano Ronaldo dazzled so much for Sporting Lisbon against Manchester United in the Alvalade XXI stadium inauguration that senior Red Devils players tried to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to buy him on the flight home. Ronaldo arrived in Manchester two weeks later.

It's also clear to see where Neves would fit at Stamford Bridge. His elegant passing style would compliment Nemanja Matic's combative approach, freeing up Cesc Fabregas to play in a more advanced role.

Porto have a long tradition of selling their prized assists, but Chelsea will know all too well that there aren't many bargains to be had in northern Portugal. After all, the Blues brought in Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho for big fees from the Portuguese side at the beginning of the Roman Abramovich revolution.

There won't be a shortage of interest in Neves, and Mourinho may decide to make a statement by bringing in new blood to revitalise a tired formula. Whatever happens, it seems Portugal's midfield is in safe hands.

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Topics:
Premier League
Chelsea
Football

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