There are no sides in Europe turning heads quite like Ajax right now. We could well look back on them like the unforgettable Monaco side of 2016-17 or Borussia Dortmund’s early years under Jurgen Klopp.
Neres, a 22-year-old wide attacker that recently earned his first call-up for Brazil, is one of the many names that look set to be part of an exodus this summer.
You often have to be careful assessing Eredivisie players – for every Ruud Van Nistelrooy or Luis Suarez, you get a Vincent Jansson or Afonso Alves – but given Ajax’s European exploits this season, it’s clear to see that many of their starlets are headed to the very top.
Having knocked holders Real Madrid out of the Champions League, they’ve since given Juventus a proper test and are well in the tie heading into the second leg, courtesy of Neres’ well-struck equaliser.
He’s a versatile player that can play across the attack, but he’s had most success playing on the right. Here’s how he compares to Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal’s current right-sided attackers:
Neres has eight goals in the Eredivisie so far this season, and two in the Champions League. He averages a goal every 211 minutes in the league, and one every 336 minutes in Europe.
This is a reasonable return, given that others have more responsibility when it comes to goalscoring, such as Dusan Tadic (20 league goals), Hakim Ziyech (15), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (11) and Kasper Dolberg (10).
Neres’ league average is well down on Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who averages a goal every 97.5 minutes in the league and every 262 minutes in the Champions League, while Pedro is averaging a goal every 193 minutes for Chelsea.
Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan average is slightly better than Neres’ at a goal every 209 minutes, but United’s Jesse Lingard is only averaging a goal every 351 minutes in the Premier League, while Willian averages one every 622 minutes for Chelsea.
Neres has just as many assists as he does goals – eight in the Eredivisie, two in the Champions League. That’s every 211 minutes in the league, and one per 336 minutes in Europe.
That’s better than Salah, who has seven assists in the Premier League, one per 404 minutes, and one from his 788 Champions League minutes this season.
Willian has six but averages one every 311 minutes, while Mkhitaryan has four from 1257 minutes (one per 314 minutes). But Pedro has only one assist in 1546 Premier League minutes, while Lingard has two, one per 703 minutes.
Neres averages 1.8 shots per game in the Eredivisie and 0.8 in the Champions League, averages one key pass (the pass before a team-mate’s shot) per game in the league and 1.3 in Europe, and averages 1.9 successful dribbles per match in both competitions.
In the Premier League, Salah averages 3.4 shots per game, 1.8 key passes and two dribbles. Willian has two shots per games, 2.5 key passes and 1.3 dribbles, ahead of Chelsea colleague Pedro, who’s at 1.7 shots, 0.9 passes and 1.5 dribbles.
Lingard takes 1.2 shots, plays 0.6 key passes and completes 0.5 dribbles. Mkhitaryan averages 1.9 shots, 1.2 key passes and 0.9 dribbles.