Wolves have signed Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes in a club-record £42.2m deal.
Bruno Lage’s side will pay an initial £38m plus £4.2m in add-ons 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 the £35m Wolves paid Porto two years ago for forward Fabio Silva, who has been loaned to Belgian side Anderlecht this season.
Nunes becomes Wolves’ third summer signing after the arrivals of Portuguese forward 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 at the Portuguese club having joined from Estoril in January 2019.
He has made 76 appearances and scored seven goals in all competitions for the Lions. He also has eight caps and one goal for his country having made his debut for Portugal last year.
West Ham had also been in for Nunes this summer but Hammers boss David Moyes revealed last week “the player didn’t want to come”.
‘Nunes is one of the best players in Portugal’
Portuguese football journalist Pedro Sepulveda speaking to Sky Sports News about Nunes:
“I really think this transfer record for Wolves is worth it. We are talking about one of the best players in Portugal these days. He will be at the World Cup for Portugal in Qatar.
“I really think this is one of the best midfielders nowadays in football. We have to wait now and see how he is going to react and his impact in the Premier League.
“But if he fits in his first season in England then we’ll talk about this player in the next transfer window.
“If he goes well at Wolves we can easily talk about a huge transfer in the next transfer window for another team.”
How Nunes will fit in at Wolves
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
Joao Moutinho’s injury on the eve of the Premier League season left Bruno Lage with only two senior central midfielders available for the opening two games of the season. Connor Ronan and Luke Cundle were the cover for Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker.
Wolves clearly needed a midfield addition in this transfer window but what an addition this is. Nunes brings a key quality to the team that they have lacked in that area of the pitch ever 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. Unusually for a central midfield player, that was more than anyone else in the competition. If he can replicate anything like that at Molineux, it will have a transformative effect on his new team.
Neves and Moutinho have been superb together over the past four seasons, but they are passers of the ball more than ball carriers. The blend of skills between the three Portugal internationals will now give Lage good options as he looks to change formation.
Conor Coady’s exit marked the end of the back three. The limited options in midfield persuaded 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 that he toyed with in pre-season. This could be a new Wolves now.
Wolves rivalling Saints for Benfica striker Ramos?
Portuguese football journalist Pedro Sepulveda speaking to Sky Sports News about the future of Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos:
“I can tell you Southampton were in Denmark when Benfica played against Midtjylland in the Champions League [earlier this month] and Southampton had a meeting with Benfica president Rui Costa to know the price of the player and find out Benfica’s conditions to make this deal.
“Wolves want the player too and some weeks ago they made an offer to Benfica and that offer was a loan, worth €5m with an obligation to buy around €30m.
“I can also reveal that Wolves boss Bruno Lage has already made the call to Ramos to know if he wants to join Wolves because they’ve already worked together and Lage has told Ramos he wants him at Wolves.”
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