In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Wolverhampton Wanderers went into the 2017/18 EFL Championship season with intent. Backed by a Portuguese plethora of signings, led by fellow countryman Nuno Espirito Santo, it was clear from the off that promotion was their one and only goal.
Indeed, not only would the Midlands club go on to achieve this, but they did so in style, finishing as champions of the division with games to spare.
One reason behind this was the acquisition of Ruben Neves. A name that was starting to grow in world football, it was perhaps a shock to Wolves that they were able to prize him away from FC Porto for £16.11 million, as per Transfermarkt.
Bearing in mind that they were not in the Premier League, the 23-year old must have bought into the project which has since seen them not only stay in the top flight, but reach an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley as well as compete in the Europa League.
As perhaps expected, Neves enjoyed a fine campaign in England’s second division, scoring six goals and providing one assist in 42 appearances, according to Transfermarkt.
A highlight was his stunning 30-yard volley into the top corner against poor Derby County, who were helpless in stopping the central midfield player’s technique. Nuno interestingly said after the match that Neves still has a lot to improve, and Rams manager at the time Gary Rowett claimed that he was the division’s best player and was too good to be playing in it.
He also said that Neves was a “Champions League player”, as the man from Portugal boasts the record of being the youngest ever captain to play in Europe’s elite competition, leading his team out as a teenager against Maccabi Tel Aviv back in 2015.
Indeed, Neves is still playing for WWFC, and has netted four times and made two assists in 43 games in all competitions (via Transfermarkt).
The midfield maestro is now playing for an established Premier League and European outfit, but would have shook Wolves and indeed English football when he joined them in the Championship.
Wanderers supporters, how shook were you when you signed Neves? Comment below!
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