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 surpasses the £35m Wolves paid Porto two years ago for forward Fabio Silva, who has been on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht this season.
Nunes becomes Wolves’ third signing of the summer following 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 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 were also linked with Nunes this summer but Hammers boss David Moyes revealed last week “the player does not 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 for Wolves is worth it. We are talking about one of the best players in Portugal these days. He is in the World Cup for Portugal in Qatar.
“I really think this is one of the best midfielders in football today. We have to wait now and see how he reacts and his impact in the Premier League.
“But if he is fit in 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 big move in the next transfer window for another team.”
How Nunes will fit in with the Wolves
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
Joao Moutinho’s injury on the eve of the Premier League season left Bruno Lage with two senior central midfielders available for the opening two games of the season. Connor Ronan and Luke Cundle cover Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker.
Wolves obviously need a midfield addition in this transfer window but what is this addition. Nunes brings a key quality to the team that they have lacked in that area of the pitch since they were promoted 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 midfield player, that’s more than anyone else in the competition. If he can replicate anything like this at Molineux, it will have a transformative effect on his new team.
Neves and Moutinho have been excellent together over the past four seasons, but they are more passers than ball carriers. The mix of skills between the three Portugal internationals will now give Lage great options as he looks to change the formation.
Conor Coady’s exit marks the end of the back three. Limited midfield options prompted Lage to switch to a 4-2-3-1 for the first two games. But the arrival of Nunes allows the coach to use the 4-3-3 he played in the pre-season. It could be a new Wolves 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 would say Southampton were in Denmark when Benfica played against Midtjylland in the Champions League [earlier this month] and Southampton have met with Benfica president Rui Costa to find out the player’s price and find out Benfica’s conditions to make this deal happen.
“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 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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