Wolves have signed Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes in a club-record £42.2million deal.
Bruno Lage’s side are paying an initial £38m plus £4.2m in fringe benefits for the 23-year-old, who could make his debut in Saturday’s game at Tottenham.
The £42.2m deal for the Portugal international eclipses Porto’s £35m payment two years ago for striker Fabio Silva, who was loaned to Belgian club Anderlecht this season.
Nunes will become Wolves’ third signing of the summer following the arrival of Portuguese striker Goncalo Guedes from Valencia and Burnley defender Nathan Collins.
Nunes, who scored in Sporting’s 3-0 home win over Rio Ave on Saturday, has spent the last three and a half seasons with the Portuguese club after arriving from Estoril in January 2019.
He has played 76 games and scored seven goals in all competitions for the Lions. He also has eight caps and one goal for his country after making his debut for Portugal last year.
West Ham were also in for Nunes this summer but Hammers boss David Moyes revealed last week that “the player didn’t want to come”.
“Nunes is one of the best players in Portugal”
Portuguese football journalist Pedro Sepulveda speaks to Sky Sports News about Nunes:
“I really think this transfer record is worth it for Wolves. We are talking about one of Portugal’s best players these days. He will represent Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar.”
“I really think this is one of the best midfielders in football these days. We now have to see how he will react and how he will translate in the Premier League.
“But if he fits into his first season in England then we will talk about that player in the next transfer window.
“If he does well at Wolves then we can easily talk about a big transfer to another team in the next transfer window.”
How Nunes will fit in with Wolves
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
Joao Moutinho’s injury on the eve of the Premier League season left Bruno Lage with only two senior midfielders available for the first two games of the season. Connor Ronan and Luke Cundle were the covers for Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker.
Wolves clearly needed an addition in midfield this transfer window but what an addition this is. Nunes brings a key quality to the team they’ve lacked in that area of the pitch since their promotion from the Championship in 2018 – the ability to carry the ball forward from midfield.
Nunes completed 81 dribbles in the Portuguese league last season. Unusual for a central midfielder, that was more than any other in the competition. If he can replicate something like this at Molineux, it will have a transformative effect on his new team.
Neves and Moutinho have been great together for the last four seasons but they are more passers than ball carriers. The mix of skills of the three Portugal internationals will now give Lage good options when trying to change formations.
The departure of Conor Coady marked the end of the back three. The limited options in midfield prompted Lage to switch to 4-2-3-1 for the first two games. But the arrival of Nunes allows the coach to adopt the 4-3-3 he played with last season. That could be a new wolf now.
Wolves rival Saints for Benfica striker Ramos?
Portuguese football journalist Pedro Sepulveda speaks to Sky Sports News about the future of Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos:
“I can tell you that Southampton were in Denmark when Benfica played Midtjylland in the Champions League [earlier this month] and Southampton had a meeting with Benfica president Rui Costa to find out the player’s price and find out Benfica’s terms on the deal.
“Wolves want the player too and a few weeks ago they made an offer to Benfica and that offer was a €5m loan with a purchase commitment of around €30m.
“I can also reveal that Wolves boss Bruno Lage Ramos has already called to know if he wants to join Wolves because they have already worked together and Lage Ramos has said he wants him at Wolves.”
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