On July 24 2018, Wolverhampton Wanderers confirmed the signing of midfielder Joao Moutinho from Monaco on a two-year deal.
According to the BBC, the deal cost newly-promoted Wolves a fee of £5 million.
Given that the experienced midfielder is 32-years-old, the transfer perhaps represented something of a gamble, as Moutinho had never played in the Premier League before and may have found the pace and intensity of the division too much to adjust to in this late stage of his career.
However, the 113-cap Portugal international has adjusted to English football incredibly well and is currently enjoying a fine maiden campaign in the Premier League. Moutinho’s technical quality and class was never in doubt, but his athleticism and energy levels perhaps were. His performances so far have proved Nuno Espirito Santo’s transfer instincts correct though, and the £5 million fee now looks likes a bargain.
Moutinho has been a near ever-present figure in the Wolves’ starting XI since his arrival at Molineux. So far this season, in the Premier League, the Portuguese maestro has made 23 appearances – 21 of which have been starts.
According to the stats on WhoScored, Moutinho has racked up four assists in the league so far this season. He has also averaged 1.7 key passes per game, demonstrating what a vital component of Wolves’ creative approach he is.
Moutinho has developed a wonderful partnership with his compatriot Ruben Neves in the middle of the park too, which has made Wolves’ midfield a very cohesive and efficient unit. His pass accuracy rating of 85% is evidence of just how reliable Moutinho is and what a good understanding he has of his teammates.
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The veteran has also shown his defensive qualities this season, averaging a fantastic 3.1 tackles per game.
All in all, Santo’s gamble on Moutinho has paid off, as the midfielder has proved himself to be a fine and reliable all-rounder with plenty still to offer at the highest level.