May 25, 2024

Wolves hit the lottery in 1999 with a player who is now worth more than Pedro Neto.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have now gone six games without a win in the Premier League, having last won on March 9 against Fulham.

This run of play has derailed their chances of finishing in the top half of the Premier League, but it should not overshadow Gary O’Neil’s outstanding performance in his first year at Molineux.

In recent weeks, the Old Gold has been hit with a number of injuries, causing significant inconvenience. O’Neil missed Matheus Cunha and Hwang Hee-Chan for a while before they returned to action. Craig Dawson, another vital player who has excelled at the heart of the defence, may miss the remainder of the season.

Pedro Neto’s injury may prove to be the most devastating to their eventual promotion to the top flight, especially given his stellar performances this season.

Pedro Neto’s statistics for Wolves in 2023/24

The former Lazio winger had a forgettable 2022/23 campaign. In October, he sustained a major ankle injury that sidelined him for not just 20 matches but also the 2022 World Cup, where he had a good chance of making the Portuguese squad.

This meant he only played 21 matches, scoring once, and it appeared that a strong pre-season was required if he was to reach his full potential.

It definitely worked, as Neto recorded seven assists and one goal in the first ten Premier League matches, helping the Old Gold get out to a good start under O’Neil.

He missed nine games due to a hamstring injury, but he recovered to score once and assist twice in the following nine games, all of which came against Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur.

The winger was substituted at halftime against Newcastle last month with a hamstring injury and has not played since, with his season potentially ended.

It’s possible that Wolves’ failure to win since then is due to a lack of Neto’s creativity and the number of opportunities he provides for others.

Indeed, among his teammates, the Portuguese gem now leads the Premier League in assists (nine), as well as second in shots per game (1.8), third in major chances created (seven), and first in critical passes per match (2), demonstrating his abilities to great effect.

Pedro Neto’s market value in 2024

Although Neto has been impressive, injuries have had a devastating influence on his market value, which now stands at just £18.5 million, according to Football Transfers. That said, once fit again, that valuation should skyrocket in the next months.

O’Neil could likely cash in on the winger this summer and make a tidy profit, but this may help him bolster his playing roster.

 

Despite this decent value, Wolves sold Robbie Keane in 2001 for a fee that, adjusted for inflation, is now approximately £10 million more than Neto is worth at the time of writing.

Robbie Keane’s market value in 2024 money

Are any clubs worse at transfer negotiations than Wolves? | Wolverhampton  Wanderers | The Guardian

 

The Irishman began his senior career at Wolves, where he scored 25 goals in 77 outings between 1997 and 1999, establishing himself as one of the club’s best players.

It was evident that the striker had a bright career ahead of him, but they did not anticipate Coventry to make a bid of £8.1 million to buy him during the summer of 1999.

This was a reasonable transfer fee in the late 1990s, let alone today, for a young player who had yet to taste the Premier League, but Wolves appeared to have struck gold by selling Keane.

The £8.1 million transfer price Wolves got from the Sky Blues in 1999 would now be worth a whopping £27.9 million in 2024, according to Totally Money, after accounting for inflation.

This amount is just under £10 million more than Neto’s current valuation in 2024. Given his importance on the Molineux team this season, it demonstrates that the club did outstanding business in the transfer market 25 years ago.

What Robbie Keane did after leaving Wolves

His stint with the Sky Blues lasted only one season before the glitz and glamour of Milan beckoned. Inter Milan signed him before of the 2000/01 season, although he only scored three goals for the club before returning to England and signing with Leeds United.

This period saw him blossom as a player, scoring 18 goals in 18 months before Spurs came knocking, a move that would transform him from a gifted striker into a Premier League hero.

Indeed, after nine years with the north Londoners, as well as stints with West Ham United and Aston Villa, Keane headed to the Major League Soccer (MLS). During his tenure in the Premier League, the striker scored 126 goals, ranking him 17th all-time since its creation in 1992.

Of course, if Wolves had known how excellent he was going to be, they may have kept Keane in the summer of 1999 rather than selling him.

At the time, however, it appeared to be a good deal on paper for a teenager who could either sink or swim in the Premier League spotlight.

Throughout his career, the Irishman scored 320 goals for his club, as well as 68 goals in 146 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, including three at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Keane had a fantastic career, but selling him for £8.1 million would have been solid transfer business for a club wanting to move out of the first tier and back into the top flight.

The fact that his worth in 1999 was higher than Neto’s in 2024 demonstrates how good the former Wolves star truly was.

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