Wolves boss Bruno Lage is confident new record signing Matheus Nunes can live up to Pep Guardiola’s billing of being one of the best young talents in the world – joking that such an endorsement would have could have cost the club an additional £10m.
Sporting Lisbon have reportedly received an initial payment of €45m (£38m) for the 23-year-old, with a further five million euros (£4.2m) in potential add-ons.
Nunes brings Champions League experience with him, having been part of the Sporting side beaten by City in last season’s competition.
Following City’s 5-0 win in Lisbon, Guardiola named Nunes ‘one of the best players in the world today’.
Lage thinks it’s well-deserved praise – although it could have increased the young midfielder’s asking price.
“At that time, I was angry with Pep because when Pep makes such a statement, the player’s value increases!” says the Wolves boss.
“When I go looking for him now I’ll have to pay £10m more because when a manager like Pep says one thing about a player he puts in £10m more (on the fee).”
Lage added: “I don’t know if anyone else (from a Champions League club) tried to sign him.
“But it’s not just about the money and the club, it’s about the project you can offer him at the moment.
“What I do know is that when I start working with him you can see the player he is.”
Following Morgan Gibbs-White’s departure for Nottingham Forest on Friday, Nunes is expected to come straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
Lage, however, warned against expecting too much too soon from the club’s latest signing.
“He lives in a hotel, doesn’t have a car yet and needs to learn to drive on the other side, but the most important thing for him is to feel comfortable,” the Wolves boss said.
“We are buying a player for the long term. We don’t put any pressure on – if he comes off the bench and plays 20 minutes, I don’t want him to score three goals against Tottenham.
“What I want is for him to start gaining confidence, to know his teammates and to play like he did for Sporting.”