Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho still faces an uncertain future with the 35-year-old’s contract set to expire next month with manager Bruno Lage keen to keep the Portuguese veteran on.
That’s according to Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Noticias (via Sport Witness) who claim that Lage has asked the Wolves hierarchy to offer Moutinho a new contract whilst Europa Conference League winners AS Roma are reportedly keen.
Roma, managed by ex-Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, have offered the 35-year-old the opportunity to take on a new challenge in Italy with his fellow countryman Mourinho reportedly appreciative of ‘the characteristics and personality of the player.’
Moreover, there is a suggestion that Moutinho could become the Portuguese manager’s assistant in the future with the midfielder turning 36 in September.
Although some supporters will accept the idea of Moutinho leaving as a free agent, Lage will be furious that his wishes to keep the experienced midfielder at Molineux have been ignored if a contract extension isn’t offered.
Despite not being a long-term option for Wolves, the £100k-per-week Moutinho has been excellent since arriving from Monaco in 2018, making 176 appearances for the Golden Boys in his four seasons in the Black Country.
Furthermore, Match of the Day commentator Gary Mowbray once referred to the midfielder as being a “Rolls-Royce.”
With 144 caps for Portugal alongside a total of 774 club appearances, Moutinho’s experience is second-to-none and therefore his potential departure will certainly be a major blow.
Moreover, it appears likely that fellow midfielder Ruben Neves will be seeking a new challenge after five years at Wolves, with the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal keen on the 25-year-old.
Therefore, if both Moutinho and Neves are to depart, Wolves will need to put together a brand new midfield which will certainly be a risk.
However, it could also provide Lage with the opportunity to build a team of players he wants with the vast majority of the current squad players he inherited.
The 35-year-old’s Molineux farewell was always going to come within the next year or two but to have his request of offering the midfielder a contract extension ignored, Lage will be furious if his fellow countryman leaves as a free agent.