Manchester United must avoid a move for Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves this summer.
What’s the story?
According to The Sun, Wolves would be willing to listen to offers worth £35 million for the Portugal international, with Arsenal also keen to secure his signature.
Several big sides including Manchester United and Liverpool are believed to be have been monitoring Neves in recent years after some decent performances throughout his time on English shores.
He’s not good enough
With Nuno Espirito Santo departing Molineux after four successful years, the Midlands outfit are set for a summer of rebuilding.
Due to the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic, it’s believed Wolves’ owners are looking to offload at least one of their star players over the upcoming transfer window in order to fund a squad overhaul.
Neves was a pivotal part of the club’s success under Espirito Santo, scoring 20 goals and providing 10 assists in 176 appearances as they won the Championship, recorded consecutive seventh-place Premier League finishes, and reached the FA Cup semi-finals together.
However, whether he has the ability to make the step up and play for a side with ambitions of winning football’s top prizes is up for debate.
At just 18, Neves became the youngest player to ever captain a Champions League game when he led out Porto against Maccabi Tel Aviv, but he arguably hasn’t progressed as far as some expected.
He’s prone to the odd shocking performance, as The Athletic’s Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers highlights last season.
“He was absolutely shocking! Completely overrun, kept giving the ball away. Awful. He’s been out-jumped a few times in set-pieces recently, he’s often marking players a few inches higher than him,” wrote Spiers after a defeat against West Bromwich Albion.
But it’s also Neves’ overall game that lacks that star quality needed at a club like Manchester United.
He recorded a pass accuracy of just 84.3% in 2020/21, lower than Scott McTominay’s 87.3% and Fred’s 88.2%. The former Porto man also lagged behind the United duo in terms of interceptions, managing only 1.55 per 90 compared to Fred’s 1.77 and McTominay’s 2.15.
Although Neves bettered McTominay in terms of tackles, winning 3.03 per 90 compared to the Scotland internationals 2.03, Fred once again better them both with 3.31. The same scenario occurred in terms of shot-creating actions per 90, with Fred managing 2.52, Neves 2.09 and McTominay 1.4.
These figures help to show that Neves isn’t better than the options already available to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford, and the Norwegian manager should concentrate his side’s resources on other targets.
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