Mon. Sep 26th, 2022
WOLVES have struck gold with their club record £42.2million for capturing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes, who has undergone a medical.

But there could also be a silver lining if fellow Portuguese national team-mate Ruben Neves pledges his long-term future to the Molineux club.

Nunes' move to Wolves is subject to a medical review
Nunes’ move to Wolves is subject to a medical reviewPhoto credit: AFP
Neves is close to promising Wolves his future
Neves is close to promising Wolves his futurePhoto credit: Getty

Nunes’ decision to join Bruno Lage’s Portuguese colony in the Midlands could prove to be a turning point in Wolves’ negotiations over a new deal with Neves.

The Molineux icon is said to be delighted with the coup Lage has just pulled off and the prospect of joining forces with his international team-mate, who has been tipped to take the Premier League by storm.

You don’t have to take Neves or even Bruno Lage at his word for how good Nunes is.

As far as public acclaim goes, nothing beats a five-star rating from one of his many admirers…. Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City had defeated Sporting 5-0 in a Champions League round of 16 qualifier at their own Jose Alvalade Stadium last February when Guardiola kindly presented Nunes with his seal of approval.

He had seen enough of the 23-year-old midfielder, even in defeat, to praise the Rio-born Portugal international.

Guardiola enthused afterwards: “Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today.

“Nunes is one of the best right now.”


In fact, the Wolves’ new boy would have ended up alongside Kevin De Bruyne at City if Bernardo Silva had left for Barcelona this summer.

Instead, Wolves pulled off a stunning coup to land an amazing talent who has also been linked with Liverpool, Manchester United (not everyone?), Newcastle United (ditto), Everton and West Ham.

With personal terms agreed, all that’s left for Nunes to do is successfully complete his Wolves medical and get his work permit, which should be a formality, before preparing for a baptism of fire against Tottenham.

It’s likely Nunes will be in this Saturday’s lunchtime showdown – whether from the start or off the bench will depend on how quickly he integrates after a week of frenetic activity.

When he takes the field, Wolves fans will be licking their lips at the superstar who is now in their midst.

Guardiola called Nunes 'one of the best'
Guardiola called Nunes ‘one of the best’Photo credit: Reuters

Standing at 6ft tall, Nunes towers over his Portugal internationals Neves and Joao Moutinho and also offers something completely different in his playing style.

While the longtime pair of Wolves love to ping the ball across the field, Nunes loves to dribble and has the ability to turn defense into offense with his quick runs.

He’s an accomplished box-to-box midfielder who thrives in the hustle and bustle of the midfield battlefield where he sees a lot of the ball.

He touched the ball more than any of his Sporting midfield partners last season and won more tackles than them too.

Despite being solid defensively, Nunes loves to play on the front foot and is able to deliver killer precision passes through the lines to Wolves frontmen.

Nunes likes to play on the front foot
Nunes likes to play on the front footPhoto credit: AFP

He has the ability to crack Premier League defences, and although he left Rio for Portugal aged 13, he has retained his samba flair.

If you give the athletic midfielder an inch, he’ll run a mile while trying to support his forwards.

But you don’t impress Pep without being able to pass the ball and it’s Nunes’ short and long passing game that makes him so difficult to contain.

He’s a master of all midfield skills, playing short when he has to, playing long when it counts, and he can throw opponents into the ground if they let him.

If he continues on his current path, Wolves could easily double their money for the 23-year-old, who has agreed a five-year deal with the club, as his all-action style suits the Prem perfectly.

Wolves could double their money for Nunes in a few years
Wolves could double their money for Nunes in a few yearsPhoto credit: Getty

Nunes was a late developer and Sporting paid Estoril just £500,000 for their 20-year-old midfielder in 2018-19.

He started just 12 times in Sporting’s title-winning season two years ago, but last season he started 28 of 30 games, plus six more in the Champions League.

Actually, he should play for a Champions League club.

So make no mistake, this is a major statement of intent from Wolves owner Fosun after a couple of disappointing transfer windows that did little to set fans’ hearts racing.

The arrival of Nunes has changed all that and could have a significant knock-on effect as mood suddenly changes dramatically at Molineux – with a massive bonus on the horizon.

Nunes fighting Wolves in preseason
Nunes fighting Wolves in preseasonPhoto credit: Getty

Wolves fans have been bracing for the departure of one of their favorite Portuguese sons all summer after Neves appeared to offer them an emotional farewell following his last home game of last season.

After Wolves’ 1-1 draw with Norwich City, Neves tearfully waved at fans as he was due to say goodbye ahead of an expected move to Barcelona or Manchester United in the summer.

However, with these two basket clubs reeling from one crisis to the next, Wolves suddenly looks like a far better choice for Neves again.

SunSport can reveal that talks between Neves and Wolves over a new deal continue, with Molineux sources increasingly confident their midfield talisman will remain.

Nunes’ arrival could be the deciding factor as Neves expects to work with his new teammate in Qatar this summer.

Wolves were already sold to Nunes well before he ran the show against them in a friendly in Portugal in July.

Spurs may be on the verge of a much tougher test when re-energized Wolves emerge for Saturday’s lunchtime showdown. Man Utd and Arsenal target Ruben Neves signs a new deal after Wolves sealed a record £42m transfer for Matheus Nunes

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