Is a Benfica prodigy a potential Kevin De Bruyne replacement? It doesn’t appear so on closer inspection

One of the biggest stories this week was Rudy Galleti’s report of Kevin De Bruyne agreeing personal terms with Al-Ittihad. It was then followed by Galleti reporting for TeamTalk that Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Xavi Simons and Joao Neves are on City’s shortlist to potentially replace De Bruyne. Each player mentioned by Galleti is a quality player in their own right. But in the case of Benfica prodigy Joao Neves is he a potential replacement for De Bruyne? That doesn’t appear to be the case on closer inspection.

There is no doubt of the quality and potential of Benfica prodigy Joao Neves. Since arriving on the scene for Benfica’s first team Neves has established himself as one of the premier young midfielders in world football. But if and when Manchester City are faced with the task of replacing Kevin De Bruyne it would appear that they need a more attacking midfielder than Joao Neves. Players such as Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz look to be more readymade replacements for De Bruyne. Their games are more similar to that of the City club legend. Joao Neves doesn’t appear suited to that type of role.

Neves has established himself as a deep-lying midfielder. He does his best work as a number 6. Given that his career is only in its infancy he may develop into a more rounded midfielder with the capabilities to go forward. But for now, his biggest weakness appears to be in the final third. The play of Joao Neves stands out in Benfica’s build-up play. He looks more to be a player who could support Rodri rather than replace De Bruyne. If Manchester City are looking at Neves to come in it is likely he will play deeper in midfield than De Bruyne does. That appears to be the limitations of his game currently.

The time is coming when Manchester City will have to replace Kevin De Bruyne. That will be no easy task for the world champions. But on closer inspection, that player doesn’t appear to be Joao Neves. He could become that player in time but for now, he looks to be a player who could support Rodri not being City’s replacement for a club legend.

Tags Al-Ittihad Benfica Florian Wirtz Jamal Musiala Joao Neves Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Rodri Rudy Galleti Teamtalk Xavi Simons