QPR manager Michael Beale looked likely to take over the vacant Wolves post before turning down the job and the 42-year-old could have been the ideal man to get the best out of Ruben Neves.
Reports have suggested that Wolves asked QPR for permission to speak to the Englishman, who has impressed at Loftus Road since taking over during the summer.
Having only previously worked in assistant manager roles at Sao Paulo, Rangers and Aston Villa, Beale made his first step into the managerial hot seat during the summer.
With QPR top of the Championship following their 3-0 win over Cardiff City on Wednesday night, it is easy to see why those at Molineux were willing to take a gamble on Beale, as while he has taken charge of just 15 games in the Championship, he has won eight and drawn three, giving the Hoops a real identity as they sit top of the tree.
Despite Beale being impressed by the quality of Neves, it seems as if he wants to continue with QPR, with reports now suggesting that he has turned down Wolves’ approach.
In 2019, he tweeted: “Ruben Neves passing has been superb today. Taking over from Fabregas as the midfielder in the PL that looks for his forwards at every opportunity. Pepijn Lijnders has been telling me about him for 4-5 years after working with him at Porto. He wasn’t wrong!! He is a top player!”
While Neves is undoubtedly one of the best players in Wolves’ side, there is an argument that a player of his quality has been wasted in recent seasons, notably by Bruno Lage.
Last season saw Neves, who joined Wolves for £15.8m, average a 6.85 rating from WhoScored for his performances in the Premier League, contributing four goals and two assists in 33 top-flight appearances.
As Beale suggests, Neves is a top player on the ball and likes to look forward, so why is he struggling so much for assists? In his Wolves career, the Portugal international has managed just 12 assists in 223 appearances, which seems baffling when you consider the quality he possesses.
Perhaps Beale could have utilised him in a similar way to Cesc Fabregas, who lit up the Premier League with Chelsea and Arsenal, contributing 119 assists in total.
Unfortunately for Wolves fans, Beale looks set to remain with QPR, so they will have to hope that whoever does replace Lage can get the best out of Neves, a man who was even rather bizarrely fielded at centre-back this term by the former boss.
Indeed, Neves is certainly much more than that and has the potential to become more of a goal and assist threat for the Old Gold. It’s just a shame that won’t be realised under a manager who admires him so much in Beale.