The 19-year-old attacking midfielder looks set to make waves in the Premier League and beyond.
🥜 Pedro Neto's season in a nutshell
Neto has made 18 Premier League appearances for Wolves this season, weighing in with two goals and two assists. He's also featured in the Europa League (and qualifiers), FA Cup and EFL Cup, taking his season tally to 29 appearances. That's not a bad record for a player in his debut season in England, and indicative of the faith Nuno Espirito Santo has in his ability.
Although he didn't score in Wolves' FA Cup loss at Old Trafford, Neto was a central figure in the contest and it was one of his standout performances in a gold jersey. He was unlucky to have a goal ruled out by the VAR and was a constant thorn in the side of United's defenders. His commitment was also on display when he slid in to win a 50-50 and could count himself unfortunate for going into the referee's book. He started on the left-wing in a 3-4-3 that night but as we'll discuss shortly, Neto is a versatile attacker capable of being deployed in numerous roles and systems.
💶 Accumulated transfer fees
According to transfermarkt, the accumulated value of fees paid for Neto already exceeds €34m. The €18.3m that Wolves forked out to secure the talented schemer on a long-term deal shows just how much confidence they have in him. Neto got a start at Braga in his native Portugal, had a loan spell with Lazio in Italy's Serie A and now calls the English Premier League home.
🧮 Neto's Versatility in the Wolves system
With Nuno Espirito Santo at the helm and numerous Portuese stars in the first-team setup at Molineux, Neto should feel right at home. He might not be a first-team regular yet with only six starts in the Premier League, but he's slowly becoming part of the furniture.
Neto is an attacking midfielder who can play on both flanks of a three-pronged attack but is equally adept in the "number 10" role, a position in which he started against Liverpool last month. In that game, he operated just behind the explosive Adama Traoré & Wolves number 9 Raúl Jiménez in a 3-5-2 system.
In a 3-4-3 (a system Wolves used at Old Trafford in the FA Cup as mentioned above), Neto started on the left-hand side of a front three comprising him, Jiménez and Traoré.
Neto's ability to dribble and shoot with both feet is a huge asset and one which makes him a great option in a variety of formations. His pace, directness and technical security on the ball adds a unique dimension to Wolves' counter-attacking style.
Essentially, he is competing for a place in the side with Diogo Jota, a player four years his senior who has already won two caps for Portugal, but hat competition for places should get the best out of Neto. With Jota, João Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence (another man to directly rival him for his place), Rui Patrício, Ruben Vinagre & Bruno Jordão in the side, there's no shortage of players speaking his language so settling into life in the British Midlands shouldn't be a problem.
🇵🇹 What's next?
Neto will be looking to cement his place in the Wolves first team for the remainder of the Premier League season and help in their unlikely quest for a Champions League place. There's also the Europa League round of 32 on the horizon, with Wolves facing Espanyol. Who knows, a Portugal call-up before Euro 2020 might be an achievable dream for the gifted 19-year-old.
It's truly an exciting time for the Portuguese national team, for Wolverhampton Wanderers and for one Pedro Neto, undoubtedly a talent worth watching in the Premier League.
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