Despite losing 2-0 against Leicester City in the second match week of the Premier League, Wolves have still had a decent start to the new season after gaining points from games versus Everton and most recently champions Manchester City.
Ruben Neves was influential in both draws — scoring a well-executed free-kick in the 2-2 tie with the Toffees at Molineux — and, ultimately, has picked up from where he left off.
£22.5m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Neves was one of the standout performers in the Championship last season, as he helped guide Wolves to Premier League promotion following his shocking arrival in the West Midlands.
The 21-year-old is seen as one of Portugal’s most promising prospects and had been linked with a move to the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool on numerous occasions in the past (A Bola via the Sun).
However, thanks to super-agent Jorge Mendes, Wolves were able to land Neves in a £15.8m deal (via BBC Sport) from Porto last summer. And it did not take long for the Portugal international to become a fan favourite at Molineux.
Neves was arriving with a reputation and much expectation given his exploits back in Portugal.
As well as his ability and the technical skill he possesses, Neves was praised for the maturity he showed for someone his age and the leadership skills he displayed on the pitch.
To put things into perspective, Neves became the youngest ever captain in the Champions League after he led Porto out in a 2-0 group stage win over Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C back in October 2015.
In Neves, Wolves were not just getting a good player, but they were also getting an influential individual who could lead.
It was no surprise the Wolves faithful took an instant liking to their new acquisition. What would have delighted supporters most about Neves, though, is his playing style.
The deep-lying midfielder is able to dictate the tempo of games and has an amazing range of passing, which enables him to find his team-mates from anywhere on the pitch.
But what really stands out when assessing the former Porto man’s game are his long-range shots and the way he strikes the ball.
Neves scored six goals in the Championship last term with all of them coming from outside the box including his ridiculous volley against Derby, which won the Sky Bet Championship Goal of the Month for April.
Neves, however, is not just a player who you can only associate with technical quality and long-range strikes.
The Portuguese playmaker is also quite robust in the middle of the park and is not afraid to make a challenge.
He was cautioned 12 times in Wolves’ Championship-winning campaign and shown one red card, an indication of his willingness to go to ground but also a reminder that he is still very young and still has some work to do in terms of discipline.
That being said, it is Neves’ robust approach that has made him into the complete midfielder or ideal deep-lying midfield man.
Since making his bow in the Premier League, he has been linked with a move to Manchester City (via the Sun), fitting the bill perfectly for Pep Guardiola as he searches for a midfielder having missed out on Jorginho to Chelsea in the summer.
Wolves, though, must do everything in their power to keep Neves at Molineux; he has the potential to become one of the very best midfielders in world football. Sure, it’s unlikely he’ll be there for years to come, but Neves certainly has the potential to become one of the club’s best ever players.
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