Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves has been tipped to leave Molineux after five seasons with the West Midlands club if they fall short in their quest for European qualification.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, transfer inside Dean Jones has tipped the Portugual international to depart Molineux should Bruno Lage’s men fail to qualify for Europe.
On Neves, Jones said: “His quality is undoubted, and I think that if they don’t qualify for Europe then it’ll probably be time to say goodbye.”
The £36m-rated midfielder is nearing the five-year anniversary of his move to Wolves from FC Porto when the then-Championship club sensationally lured one of Europe’s most exciting prospects to play in the second tier of English football.
In fact, when he was 18-years-old Neves became the youngest ever player to captain a side in the Champions League.
Manchester United have been previously linked with the 25-year-old but were told they would have to pay a fee in the region of £40m to secure the midfielder’s services; that fee could’ve certainly increased by the summer.
With the Portuguese one of Lage’s top performers this season, the Wolves manager will be desperate to keep Neves at Molineux beyond this season.
Throughout his tenure in the Black Country, the 25-year-old has been an excellent servant and thus losing him would be disastrous, particularly as Wolves have a lack of depth anyway. However, he can’t be blamed for seeking a new challenge, particularly if Wolves are to fall short in the race for Europe.
The West Midlands outfit are currently eighth in the Premier League table, two points off the top-six. However, sixth-placed West Ham have a game in hand whilst seventh-placed Spurs have two.
Over the course of his five seasons at Molineux, Neves has gone on to make 207 appearances, scoring 24 goals and registering 12 assists in the process with the 25-year-old securing promotion from the Championship, reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League and semi-finals of the FA Cup whilst wearing the famous amber and black.
However, the midfielder had already made 93 appearances for FC Porto by 20 years of age prior to his move to the Black Country, proving that he has always been of an impressive pedigree.
If Neves was to depart, it could cause dire consequences for the West Midlands club.
First of all, Wolves would almost certainly have to invest heavily in their midfield, with Joao Moutinho certainly not a long term option with the Portuguese turning 36 in September. As for Leander Dendoncker, the Belgian is arguably a level below Neves having averaged a 6.79 rating this season and 19-year-old Luke Cundle has only recently made his first-team debut.
Seeing the 26-cap Portugal international depart would, therefore, leave Lage extremely light in the midfield and would undoubtedly force Fosun to invest heavily in a suitable replacement.
Not only would the West Midlands club be losing a highly popular figure at Molineux, but they would be losing one of their top performers this season, with the 25-year-old averaging a 7.2 rating in the top-flight, according to SofaScore. As a result, replacing him would be a particularly troublesome affair for Lage and co.
If Neves wants to leave, Wolves may find it tricky to stand in his way, however, they must ensure that they do everything within their power to try and keep the Portuguese midfielder at Molineux for at least one more season.