The level of spending in the Premier League has become so exhaustingly ridiculous over the last few years that genuine value-for-money is often overshadowed by the endless club-record transfer fees being broken across the division, even when it’s staring us right in the face.
Wolves’ swoop for Joao Moutinho is a prime example. The veteran playmaker has picked up an incredible 113 caps for Portugal, was part of their European Championship-winning squad in 2016 and has been one of the top creative midfielders in Europe over the last eight years, yet Wolves’ £5million swoop for his services has gone largely under the radar.
But the 31-year-old is already proving an incredibly shrewd addition for the newly-promoted Midlands outfit, striking up an impressive understanding with Wolves’ talismanic youngster Ruben Neves in central midfield while adding even more quality to Nuno Santo’s promising team.
Against Manchester City on Saturday, although it owed much to a fortuitous handball from Willy Boly, it was Moutinho who provided the cutting edge to unexpectedly put Wolves in front at Molineux, delivering a delicious curling cross into the box that City’s backline just couldn’t get close enough to.
That was one of five crosses Moutinho attempted against the reigning champions and one of two chances he created, while making three tackles and completing 82% of his passes in an impressive all-round midfield display.
But it’s not just the combination of what Moutinho’s currently giving to the team and his modest price-tag that makes the midfielder, who Transfermarkt actually value at £9million, such a smart acquisition.
His experience will be vital for Wolves this season but also for the long-term progression of midfield partner Neves, a fellow former Porto man, giving him someone to learn off in the middle of the park.
Considering the financial value of not only the 21-year-old, which Moutinho’s mentorship will only increase, but also Premier League survival, the bargain signing is already shaping up to be arguably the division’s best value-for-money buy of the summer.