The Portugal international has been impressive at the heart of Wolves’ midfield so far this campaign, despite the Old Gold’s struggles in the Premier League, and a summer exit looks on the cards for the captain.
Fortunately for Julen Lopetegui, the Spanish manager may have a ready-made replacement for the former Porto man in academy talent, Harvey Griffiths.
Could Ruben Neves leave Wolves this summer?
Neves has been a mainstay in Wolves’ side since joining from Porto in 2017, with the talented midfielder leading the Midlands club to the Championship title in his first season, before establishing himself as one of the best players outside the traditional top six.
He has long been linked with some of the biggest sides in Europe and with Wolves battling against relegation this season, it would be difficult to deny him the opportunity to play Champions League football in the 2023/24 campaign, should a big side come knocking in the summer.
The 26-year-old spoke recently about his desire to play at the highest level, saying:
“I feel extremely happy at Wolves, but I would like to play Champions League again.”
Wolves look unlikely to be able to provide that and with veteran midfield partner Joao Moutinho also looking likely to depart Molineux when his contract expires, Lopetegui will surely need a replacement in the middle of the park.
They would well look to the academy in order to find that, with young Harvey Griffiths lying in wait.
Who is Harvey Griffiths?
Griffiths signed for Wolves from Manchester City in 2021 and has caught the eye with his performances in the Premier League 2 this season, which suggests that he could be on the brink of breaking into Lopetegui’s first-team squad.
Despite featuring primarily as a defensive midfielder – the natural role of Neves – the 19-year-old boasts four goals and three assists in just 14 Premier League 2 outings so far this term, so surely a first senior appearance is on the cards.
The teenager earned a lot of praise from academy coach James Collins after making his debut back in 2021.
He said: “My first impressions are what a terrific kid he is, really humble. Even little things like yesterday, I said, ‘Come and see me in my office, do you know where it is’ and he said, ‘I’ll find it’.
“He’s got something about him, those little things. He’s obviously a terrific footballer which we need.”
Given Griffiths’ attitude, talent and goal-scoring knack from midfield, he looks as if he could be an ideal successor for Neves. Indeed, the latter certainly knows a thing or two about finding the net himself, as he leads the club’s scoring charts this term alongside Daniel Podence on five.
Should the Portuguese maestro depart Molineux this summer, supporters will love to learn they already have a precocious talent at their disposal capable of replacing him.