Wolverhampton Wanderers are reportedly keen on Sporting CP midfielder Matheus Nunes, although the player’s potential transfer fee could prove a stumbling block.
As per Portuguese outlet A Bola (via Sports Witness), the 23-year-old is believed to be on the club’s radar this summer as Bruno Lage looks to bolster his midfield ranks, with teammate Joao Palhinha having also been heavily tipped for a move to Molineux.
While this latest report suggests that it is a ‘given’ that the latter man will make the switch in the current window, the chances of his colleague and compatriot joining him in the Midlands are much slimmer, with Ruben Amorim’s side set to demand as much €40m (34.1m) for his services.
That fee is seemingly proving a notable obstacle for Wolves at present, with the 6-foot machine currently ‘closer to staying’ with his current side, despite rumoured interest from other Premier League clubs, such as champions Manchester City and newly-promoted Fulham, as per the report.
The desire to add new reinforcements in the centre of the park has been heightened by the speculation surrounding the future of current regular Ruben Neves, while partner-in-crime Joao Moutinho is also facing an uncertain future with his contract set to expire this summer at present.
The pair have been integral for the Old Gold in recent seasons – notably being dubbed “trojans” by pundit Glenn Hoddle back in December for their superb partnership – with the loss of one or both set to leave a notable void in Lage’s side.
Those potential exits may not prove a knockout blow, however, if the club are able to fashion another impressive partnership, with the chance to sign both Palhinha and Nunes offering a ready-made duo who have already shown their worth as a midfield unit in recent times.
The Portuguese pair proved vital in helping the Lisbon outfit progress to the knockout stage of the Champions League last term at the expense of Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, before their eventual exit at the hands of City in the last-16.
Dubbed “one of the best players in the world today” by Pep Guardiola despite that defeat, Nunes caught the eye throughout the competition, averaging 1.2 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and two tackles per game in his six outings, while teammate Palhinha also chipped in with 1.2 interceptions, 1.2 clearances and a remarkable 3.7 tackles from his six appearances.
As for their league form, the latter man also averaged one interception and three tackles per 90 from his 23 appearances, while Nunes averaged 1.3 tackles and 0.9 interceptions from his 31 outings, as well as chipping in with five goal contributions.
A formidable and combative pairing, both men would seemingly be able to slot straight in to Lage’s side were they to be plucked this summer, offering a quick and quality replacement to what looks to be the end of the Neves-Moutinho axis.
The club have already struck gold time and again by tapping into the talent market in Portugal, they would be foolish not to do so again.