RUBEN NEVES has delivered a hammer blow to Newcastle’s transfer plans by insisting he “wants to stay” at Al-Hilal.
The 26-year-old Portuguese international left Wolverhampton Wanderers for the Saudi Pro League in a £47m deal last summer.
However, Newcastle – who are also owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund – were preparing a January swoop.
After Sandro Tonali’s suspension for betting breaches, boss Eddie Howe was desperate to bolster his midfield.
They learned last week that they are able to sign players on loan from sides also controlled by their Saudi owners following a controversial vote by Premier League clubs.
That gave them the green light to bring Neves back to England to help their quest for another top four finish.
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Arsenal have also been linked with the star – but he ruled out a switch when asked directly by it last night.
Neves told BBC Sport: “I don't go.
“I think that's rumours because of the owner of the clubs of course, and because I've played in England as well.
“There was Newcastle interest before I came here but I'm really happy here, my family's really happy, so I'm having a great time.”
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Neves was in action on Friday as he helped Al-Hilal claim bragging rights over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in the Riyadh derby.
The Portuguese legend and his side, which included Sadio Mane, were blown away 3-0 at the home of their rivals.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic broke the deadlock just after the hour mark before ex-Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic struck twice at the death.
That stretched top of the table Al-Hilal’s lead at the top over second-placed Al-Nassr to seven points.
Neves also added: “Everything is going really well for me and I want to stay here.”
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