Former Wolves captain Ruben Neves has revealed he came ‘close’ to joining Arsenal last summer before moving to Saudi Arabia.

The Portuguese midfielder ended his six-year stay at Wolves with a £47million move to Al Hilal in July 2023.

The 26-year-old, who has 45 caps for Portugal, was long linked with moves to the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea during his time in England.

But it was Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal that showed the most interest last summer, before the club invested £105million in Declan Rice.

‘I was close to three clubs and it didn’t happen, which saddened me and helped me make the decision to go to Al Hilal,’ Neves told O Jogo.

‘I didn’t want to put names forward, but Barcelona was one of the hottest and it wasn’t a lie. It was close to happening, just like with Arsenal.

‘Then there was another club outside England. It was events that piled up and then, with this golden opportunity [to sign for Al Hilal], I had no hesitation in accepting. I was already calloused with transfers that don’t happen.’

Neves has been a mainstay in Al Hilal’s first XI this season, despite speculation over a winter loan move to Newcastle United.

The midfielder has scored five times in 35 appearances for the club, helping them to a seven-point lead at the top of the Saudi Pro League.