Ruben Neves put in a sensational display in yesterday’s friendly against Celta Vigo despite Wolverhampton Wanderers losing 1-0.
The midfielder was at the heart of everything Wolves did well and did not deserve to be on the losing side.
In a tepid first-half performance, the former FC Porto midfielder had Wolves’ only shot on target.
Although it looks like he is part of coach Bruno Lage’s plans, there remain rumours surrounding his future.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United have been frequently linked with the midfielder, with the reported fee ranging from £35m to £50m.
Neves looked regeneratedEmbed from Getty Images
Wolves were much better in the second half and created a flurry of chances. Only the post and some goal-line clearances from Celta prevented them from equalising.
Neves did not just dictate the tempo. He was a consistent threat in the final third. His deep crosses should have been met with better headers.
Seeing him this creative in the final third is different to what we saw under ex-boss Nuno Espirito Santo. It indicated that Lage may be able to develop him further.
Despite this, he continued his trademark passes that broke Celta’s midfield line. This allowed Francisco Trincao and Adama Traore to break from deep.
Wolves may have to sell Neves at some point, but they may be able to get a lot more money for him next summer.
If Neves can develop and Wolves are not forced to sell in a Covid-19 impacted market, then his asking price could shoot up.
His departure would likely unsettle Wolves also – a dangerous move so early into a new manager’s tenure.
Other midfield doubts highlight Neves’ quality
In contrast to Neves’s excellent display, his Portuguese counterpart Joao Moutinho looked off the pace.
Substituted after 45 minutes, it was a difficult match for the European Championship winner.
His replacement, Leander Dendoncker, fared much better but does not boast the same technical qualities as Neves.
Therefore, selling Neves may not just be outside of Wolves’ best interests financially, but highly risky too.