Ruben Neves. One way or another, the lad is going right to the very top. Some may find it surprising that City are interested in the Wolves midfielder. But, if you watch him for a game or two, it will be obvious as to why Pep Guardiola is licking his lips at the prospect of buying the ex-Porto man. As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing more than paper talk at the moment. However, I expect Ruben Neves to be at a top-four club within the next three years. Whether that be City, Liverpool or, if Wolves’ owners’ ambitions can be realised, Wolves, I’m not so sure.
Speaking from a Wolves perspective, I’d be devastated if he leaves. I suppose I should say when he leaves. Without trying to speak on behalf of the whole Wolves fanbase, it’s been widely accepted that we were always going to be a stop gap for Neves and rightly so, the lad has got everything in his locker and deserves to be playing in the Champions League, World Cup, so on and so forth. What we are going to do here is compare him to Fernandinho, whose place he will likely eventually take and Jorginho, the man Pep was so close to getting in the summer.
Porto’s youngest Champions League captain arrived at Molineux last summer, linking up with old manager Nuno Espirito Santo and their relationship has blossomed once again. His class was evident from the word go last season, raking cross-field balls, crunching tackles, and some unbelievably good goals. Regardless of what the official awards say, Ruben Neves was by far and away the best player in the Championship last season. He hasn’t started too badly in the top flight either, with a goal and assist on the opening day against Everton and another busy performance last time out against Leicester. A lot of people are raving about those two performances. Although, I don’t think he’s got anywhere near the levels of last season yet, watch this space.
Just to put the stats into some sort of context before we begin; Jorginho is twenty-six and Fernandinho is thirty-three. Neves is only twenty-one and while his stats should be more favourable in some departments due to the fact he was plying his trade in the second-tier. I’d expect them to be similar, if not better come the end of the season.
Neves’ pass completion is less than the other two and I’d say that that has something to do with the insane number of switches he tries. Key passes are understandably low for Neves as he tends to do the assist of the assist of the assist which doesn’t come under the key pass remit. Jorginho’s 1.52 per ninety minutes gives you an idea as to why Pep wanted him.
Ruben Neves is becoming rather well-known for his tendency to shoot from outside the area as is indicated from the above. 2.2 per ninety minutes for the Portuguese prodigy, who was unlucky to miss out on Portugal’s World Cup squad. Much like Jorginho, Neves loves a tackle and the pair of them are comfortably ahead of Fernandinho. We close with total duels won, Neves once again sits second.
In closing, as much as it hurts me to say it, Ruben Neves suits Man City down to the ground. From a long-term perspective, I do think it’s a matter of when rather than if Neves arrives at the Etihad Stadium. The only way around that predicament is if Wolves manage to win either of the domestic cups or finish in the top seven. Not impossible. Only time will tell, I guess…
Until the next time.