Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City - Premier League
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 07: Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand has said that Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves is not what Manchester United need this summer.

Speaking on his Youtube channel Vibe with FIVE, the former United and England defender said that the Wolves midfielder is “not in the top three to four players the Red Devils should be targeting”.

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Instead, he suggested they are better off pursuing other central midfielders. Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and West Ham United’s Declan Rice are stronger options, according to Ferdinand.

United have been linked with the Portuguese midfielder all summer. TalkSPORT have reported interest in Neves from the Red Devils. To date, no official bid has been publicly lodged.

Below is an evaluation of Ferdinand’s comments, and why he may be wrong to dismiss Neves.

How does Neves compare to Saul and Rice?

West Ham United v Sheffield United - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Declan Rice of West Ham. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Although all three midfielders play in central midfield, they have very different attributes.

Over the previous season, Neves and Rice boasted better passing percentages than Saul. According to FBRef, Rice achieved the highest pass accuracy of 86.2%, Neves followed with 84.3% with Saul on 83.7%.

Neves also completed the most long-range passes, completing 75.6% compared to Rice’s 73.7% and Saul’s 70.6%.


Although this bodes well for Wolves, the Red Devils already have Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, who possess an excellent passing range.

Neves also completed more tackles than either alternative.

Wolves will hope United take Ferdinand’s advice

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 01 2020: Fred of Manchester United, Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United. (Photo by Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images)

Although Ferdinand’s stance is not fully supported by statistics, the Wolves hierarchy may welcome his comments.

If Utd do not persist in their pursuit of Neves, then it will give Wolves one less issue to address this summer.

Even with Neves in midfield, the club still need to acquire another midfielder and defender.

The departure of the midfielder would only add to Wolves’ problems, especially with the transfer market closing in just over two weeks.

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