The Portuguese midfielder is arguably our most valuable asset due to his youth and undoubted talent. Nevertheless, Nuno and Fosun must make it clear that Neves is not for sale.
In the first few weeks of the season, it was obvious that Neves was not quite performing at his best. Despite a brilliant goal to tie the game against Manchester United, he looked out of sorts.
Clearly, Neves was being deployed in the wrong areas of the pitch. Dropping deep and essentially playing as a fourth centre-back when Wolves had the ball is not the way to get the best out of such a talented passer.
Since the move to 3-4-3, Neves has undoubtedly had a bigger impact on games. In the defeats to Everton and Chelsea, Neves didn’t make single key pass in either game (“the final pass leading to a shot at goal from a teammate”- whoscored.com). The 22-year old also completed just 63.6% and 79% of his passes in the losses.
His completion rates in recent games have risen dramatically: 90.6% vs. Newcastle, 85.7% vs. Arsenal and 89.1% with a whopping 101 passes vs. Bratislava. Although this went down to just 75.9% vs. Villa, Neves made three key passes in that game and was crucial to our success in midfield.
Playing higher up has also led Neves to having more shots: he took four vs. Arsenal, five vs. Bratislava and two against Villa including his incredible goal. Although he may take the odd inadvisable strike at goal, we have seen time and time again how proficient he is at long-range shooting.
Neves’ outside-the-box efforts have led to some crucial goals for Wolves. This makes him an essential part of the squad, and we need to make it clear that Neves is not for sale.
Luxury we can afford:
With Wolves’ finances looking healthy, the club is heading in an extremely positive direction so there is no need to sell.
We are in a position to be competing in the latter stages of the Europa League. Also with recent performances we could be on track to qualify for Europe this year.
To avoid becoming the next Southampton, we need to make sure we keep hold of our best players. Neves is clearly one of them and, at just 22, has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. A message to the European Super Clubs: Neves is not for sale.