Wolves have signed Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes in a club-record £42.2m deal.
Bruno Lage’s side will pay £38m plus an additional £4.2m 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 striker Fabio Silva, who was loaned to the team Belgian from Anderlecht this season.
Nunes becomes Wolves’ third summer signing following the arrivals 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 past three and a half seasons at the Portuguese club after joining Estoril in January 2019.
He made 76 appearances 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 had also played for Nunes in the 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 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 he is one of the best midfielders in football these days. We have to wait now and see how he responds and his impact in the Premier League.
“But if he returns to his first season in England, we will talk about this player in the next transfer window.
“If he does 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 just two senior central midfielders available for the first 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 it is. Nunes brings a key quality to the team that they have been missing in this 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. Unusually for a central midfielder, that was more than anyone else 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 superb together over the past four seasons, but they are more passers than runners. The mix of skills between the three Portugal internationals will now give Lage some good options as he looks to change formations.
Conor Coady’s exit marked the end of the bottom three. 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 with which he played in pre-season. It could be a new wolf now.
Wolves vying with 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 Southampton were in Denmark when Benfica played Midtjylland in the Champions League [earlier this month] and Southampton have had a meeting with Benfica chairman Rui Costa to find out the player’s price and to find out Benfica’s terms for completing the deal.
“Wolves also want the player and a few 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 called Ramos to see if he wants to join Wolves as they have worked together before and Lage has told Ramos he wants him at Wolves.”
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