The veteran Portuguese midfielder continues to delight the Premier League as the heartbeat of Bruno Lage’s side, having showcased his unerring ball-playing talent on a weekly basis since his shock £5m arrival at Molineux in 2018.
The 35-year-old playmaker could have arrived in English football much earlier, though, with Spurs pursuing a deal for the then-Porto man a decade ago as Daniel Levy and co sought a replacement for Real Madrid-bound Luka Modric.
In his first summer in charge, former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas identified his compatriot as the perfect replacement for the departing Croatian, having previously coached the diminutive midfielder during his time in Portugal.
Moutinho had been vital to the youthful coach winning the treble in a remarkable unbeaten campaign during the 2010/11 season – his only one in charge at the Estadio do Dragao – with Villas-Boas desperate for a reunion in north London.
A deal appeared set to be done as Spurs agreed a then club-record fee of £22m for the former Sporting Lisbon man in the summer of 2012, only for the deal to collapse late on transfer deadline day as negotiations broke down with the player’s representatives.
As the 5 foot 7 gem has since admitted, he had just been a matter of “minutes” away from making the move to White Hart Lane, only for the club to see their hopes dashed in brutal fashion right at the climax of the transfer window.
That failure to get the deal done has no doubt come back to bite the Lilywhites, with the Barreiro native eventually joining Monaco in a £21.5m deal in May 2013 as part of a double swoop alongside James Rodriguez.
Now in Old Gold, the evergreen experienced star remains a vital asset for club and country, having accumulated 144 caps since making his international bow 17 years ago, while he has also amassed 772 appearances across his entire club career and been hailed as a “Rolls-Royce of a player” by BBC commentator Guy Mowbray.
Even in his mid-30s, the £100k-per-week stalwart still continues to perform commendably for the Molineux outfit, averaging one interception, 0.9 clearances and 2.2 tackles per game in his 33 Premier League appearances this season, 32 of which have come as a starter.
Tottenham supporters will no doubt reflect upon what was a major missed opportunity for their club, with Moutinho likely to have been the ideal heir to Modric a decade ago.