Manchester City have made an approach to bring Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes to the club. The 24 year old is believed to be keen on the transfer should the clubs come to an agreement on price. Here’s a look at why Man City are trying to sign Matheus Nunes.
Even before he moved to the Premier League last summer, Nunes had already received special praise from Pep Guardiola.
“Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today” was the verdict of the City boss after his club’s convincing Champions League knockout stage victory over Sporting in February of last year.
The Portugal international departed Lisbon to sign for Wolves a few months later and has since established himself in the Premier League with some mature and confident performances.
Why Man City are trying to sign Matheus Nunes
A good fit for a Pep team
Matheus Nunes has a lot of qualities that should make him a good fit for a Pep Guardiola team. He’s a good passer of the ball with an excellent first touch and ability to use both feet to a high level. He also has that touch of aggression and drive to cover lots of ground by either getting forward to support attacks or tracking back to help out defensively.
That range of skills makes him a solid all-round midfielder who could slot into the Manchester City team and do a job in a number of positions across the centre of the pitch with his ability to use both feet adding to his versatility.
If Nunes does move to the Etihad, it’ll be interesting to see just where he fits into this side. A holding midfield role is perhaps most likely for the 24 year old, although he’s likely to be given license to get forward at times and make regular darts into the final third with Nunes’ fitness enabling him to get back quickly in the event that his team loses possession and is subject to a counter attack.
A ball carrying midfielder
🇵🇹 Matheus Nunes' statistically calculated WhoScored characteristics:
🟢 Defensive contribution
🟢 Holding on to the ball
🔴 Finishing pic.twitter.com/ypjJZ6PGiR
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 24, 2023
Perhaps Nunes’ best trait is his ability to run with the ball and carry it forwards from a deep position. He ranked as one of the best players in the Premier League last season in that metric and so far this term, he has attempted more take-ons than any other player in the division.
That showcases a belief in his own ability to take responsibility and press forwards with the ball at his feet. While Guardiola teams are better known for having players who get the ball and quickly release it, the City boss would most likely look to utilise Nunes’ dribbling ability as a different way of moving the ball up the pitch.
The right age
Throughout the Sheikh Mansour era, Manchester City have tended to target players in their early to mid 20’s who they know still have time to improve and develop their game under one of the all-time great managers.
In the case of Nunes, who will turn 25 in a few days, City know they will be getting a player who is just about to head into the peak years of his career. They should get at least five strong seasons out of the player, although with these kinds of transfers the Premier League champions also factor in the possibility that the move doesn’t work out quite as expected.
By signing a relatively young player, the club will know that they should still be able to move the player on for a significant transfer fee down the line if Nunes fails to light up the Etihad. There are plenty of examples of Man City doing just that in recent years such as the departures of squad players Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal last summer with City netting a significant transfer profit on both players.
While it’s clear that Pep Guardiola rates the player highly, this feels like a transfer that is as much about adding depth to the squad and getting cover in a number of midfield roles, as it is improving the first eleven.
With Ilkay Gündogan having joined Barcelona and doubts over Kalvin Phillips’ future, City were already looking a bit light in midfield and that was before an injury to Kevin De Bruyne which could see him miss the rest of 2023. Bernardo Silva and John Stones are also currently sidelined which leaves Rodri and recent signing Mateo Kovacic as the only fit senior central midfielders, aside from Phillips who has been linked with a surprise move to Liverpool.
Adding Nunes, who should arrive fully fit and ready to go, would immediately ease some of those concerns. When the European action commences next month, Guardiola will certainly need more options than he currently has available to him and the Wolves player may not be the only midfielder heading to Manchester in the coming days, with the club also reportedly keen on Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze.