With a swift click of the fingers, Pedro Neto’s outstanding season has come to a premature end.
The winger has enjoyed a scintillating breakthrough campaign at Wolves, putting a number of Premier League teams to the sword with red-hot dribbling and his devastating left-foot.
Those aren’t breathtaking numbers but it says a lot that at the age of just 21, he is the standout player in a top-flight side.
The Portuguese sensation has stepped up admirably in the absence of Raul Jimenez but like his Mexican teammate, he now faces a considerable period on the sidelines.
Wolves have had rotten luck with injuries this term and only last week Jonny was ruled out for the best part of a year with another ACL injury.
Neto won’t miss quite as much time, but he’s now set to miss the next six months with a significant injury to his knee cap that requires surgery.
The youngster will be a huge miss to Wolves between now and the end of the campaign and they will struggle to replace him.
They can take comfort from the fact that Adama Traore bagged his first Premier League goal since December 2019 in the win over Fulham but he has some way to go before rediscovering his best form.
One player Wolves could turn to is a player in their academy; Theo Corbeanu.
The 18-year-old hasn’t made a single first-team appearance for the club but he was on the bench in both of their FA Cup ties this term while he’s appeared among the substitutes in the top-flight on six occasions.
He is yet to make a breakthrough but evidently, the Canadian is very much on Nuno’s radar.
A winger or centre-forward by trade, Corbeanu possesses many of the qualities that have made Neto such a stand out fixture in the Wolves starting XI.
He is a tricky individual with the ability to find the net and create. This season the teenager has five goals and two assists for the U23 side.
The forward has made a dazzling impact in James Collins’ team and has earned eye-catching praise along the way: “He’s athletic, tall, can head it, can defend, can dribble past people and score, he can shoot, he can pass, he’s both footed, he’s got a bit of everything,” Collins admitted.
“Theo can be anything he wants to be. He’s an outstanding prospect,” he concluded.
We saw the ruthless impact Corbeanu can have when he was given an opportunity to shine in the EFL Trophy against senior opposition. During that competition, the attacker managed 1.8 key passes per game and 2.3 successful dribbles.
Clearly, the Wolves prodigy has plenty to offer to the senior squad. With Neto now on the sidelines, this feels like the perfect chance to hand him a first-team berth.