Porto president Pinto da Costa insists Liverpool target Ruben Neves is not for sale and hopes the starlet never leaves the Portuguese giants. Neves became the youngest player to ever captain a side in Champions League history on 20 October, as he led Porto out against Maccabi Tel Aviv at just 18 years and 221 days old, breaking the previous record set by Rafael van der Vaart by almost two years.
It was the latest in a string of records set by the prodigious midfielder, who became the youngest player in Porto's history to score a league goal in 2014, before he was the youngest Portuguese player to ever feature in the Champions League game days later.
With 42 first-team appearances to his name to date, his rise to prominence has been noted across Europe, with Liverpool reportedly his biggest suitors. The Reds have already made an informal approach for the youngster, the Mirror claims, but Porto have no intention of cashing in on their prized asset.
"I hope he is at Porto for many years," Da Costa was quoted as saying by Portuguese newspaper Record. "Ruben has a contract until 2019, not until 2017 as has been written. We would like to keep him at the club and make him a symbol of the progress the club has made. I never want him to leave."
The Mirror has suggested Liverpool have intensified their interest under the instruction of new manager Jurgen Klopp, who has reportedly been monitoring Neves's development since his time at Borussia Dortmund. The German coach has indicated he will not make wholesale changes to the Liverpool squad during the January transfer window but may look to make one or two key signings to bolster the side.
Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has also been linked with a move to Merseyside, where he would be reunited with his former boss. Italian website Calciomercato.com reported upon Klopp's arrival the Germany international had been identified as the new manager's first serious transfer target.
Gundogan, who signed a contract extension at the Westfalenstadion in the summer, has swiftly shot down those rumours, though. "This is an issue that is always floating around," he said of the rumours regarding Liverpool, according to Goal.com. "I am very happy with BVB and feel very comfortable here. Of course, I can imagine remaining here beyond the end of the season."