Traore? Pedro Neto is the Wolves winger set for the top


As wingers go, Adam Traore is about as fascinating as they come. The Spaniard’s astonishing physicality, as well as his natural gift for dribbling past opponents as if they weren’t even there, marks him out from the rest. But if there is a winger currently at Wolves destined for the very top, then it could be Pedro Neto.

Pedro Neto hasn’t always been spoken about as much as his Wolves teammate this season, but the 20-year-old is flourishing into something of a superstar, underlined by the winning goal he scored in the 2-1 away victory over Southampton. The Portuguese youngster is getting better with almost every game he plays.

Neto now has five goals and four assists in 24 Premier League appearances this season. With Raul Jimenez sidelined for the foreseeable future, it has been up to the 20-year-old to provide Wolves with a spark in the attacking third. For someone so young, Neto has handled this pressure remarkably well.

“It’s good to see a young player develop and improve,” Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said about Neto earlier in the season. “I think Pedro since last season has been always on a way of improvement, being more consistent in his actions. I think he’s playing good and he’s working hard for the team. So this is the more important aspect is that I can see he’s a team player.”

Of course, Wolves have made a conscious effort in recent years to attract the brightest and best young talent from Portugal. The last summer transfer window saw the Molineux club spend £35 million on teenager Fabio Silva from Porto. The year before that Wolves with £17 million to sign Daniel Podence.

Diogo Jota set a precedent by using Wolves as a springboard for his career, earning himself a £40 million switch to Liverpool last summer. The Portuguese forward hit the ground running on Merseyside, instantly proving himself as good enough for the Premier League champions.

There’s no doubt Pedro Neto has the potential to follow Jota down the same path. The 20-year-old is exceptional with the ball at his feet, but also possesses a level of physicality that allows him to hold his own against Premier League defences. Neto is the epitome of a modern winger in that he frequently looks to cut inside to make something happen, as he did for his winning goal against Southampton.

Neto is most comfortable on the left wing, but he is capable of operating on the right too. The 20-year-old has even been deployed through the middle at times by Nuno such is his ability to go either way with the ball at his feet. This versatility means there aren’t many attacking units Neto wouldn’t fit into.

With goals against Arsenal and Chelsea this season, the Portuguese youngster has proven his thirst for the big occasion. Neto forces opponents into difficult decisions, driving at them whenever he can. Such directness makes the 20-year-old one of the most inherently potent wide men currently in the Premier League.

In what has been a difficult season, statistically, Pedro Neto is Wolves’ most creative player, creating 24 big chances for the Midlands side so far this season. Having had a direct hand in nine goals on top of this, the Portuguese has also proved himself in terms of his final product. While there are still some areas in which Neto can improve, he’s not far off the finished article.

On his current trajectory, it won’t be long before bigger clubs coming calling for Pedro Neto. The 20-year-old has already been mentioned as a potential target for Manchester United who could be in the market for a new winger this summer. Neto could be the next superstar to pass through Molineux.

 


 

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