Everton’s hopes of signing Matheus Nunes look to be over, with Rafa Benitez’s appointment reportedly scuppering any chances of a deal for the Sporting Lisbon ace.
According to Portuguese news outlet Record (via Sport Witness), whilst Everton were ‘very close’ to signing the 22-year-old just a few weeks ago, they no longer appear to be interested in him following Benitez’s arrival at Goodison Park.
It is suggested that, had Everton appointed former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as they looked close to doing not long ago, then a deal for Nunes would likely have been completed for around €16m, despite his €60m release clause with the Liga NOS side.
Nunes was a regular for Sporting Lisbon last season as they were crowned champions of the Portuguese top-flight, making 31 league appearances and contributing three goals and two assists.
Whilst Everton boast strong options such as Allan, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Abdoulaye Doucoure in their midfield, all of these players are 28 or older, and Nunes could have perhaps been a long-term successor in the heart of Everton’s side.
Former teammate Goncalo Santos detailed why Nunes would be such a good signing for Everton earlier this year when he spoke to Liverpool Echo, saying:
“Matheus is a box-to-box player. He’s not so strong like midfielders in the Premier League but he’s very fast. He’s very good with the ball because he is a Brazilian boy. They know how to play with the ball.
“If you are in the defensive phase and he gets the ball, he can run with it and fire the team 30 yards up the pitch because he is so good in possession.”
Therefore, it seems clear that Nunes would have been a good option for Everton to have next season and in the long-term, so Blues fans will undoubtedly be gutted that the appointment of Benitez has seemingly caused the deal to fall through.
And, in other news… Everton set to make offer for Euro 2020 star