Wolves boss Bruno Lage is confident new record signing Matheus Nunes can live up to Pep Guardiola’s billing of being one of the world’s top young talents – joking that such a ringing endorsement could have cost the club an extra £10million.
Sporting Lisbon are understood to have been paid an initial 45million euros (£38m) for the 23-year-old, with a further five million euros (£4.2m) in potential add-ons.
Nunes brings with him Champions League experience, having been part of the Sporting side beaten by City in last season’s competition.
Following City’s 5-0 win in Lisbon, Guardiola singled out Nunes as “one of the best players in the world today”.
Lage believes it is praise well due – even if it might have raised the young midfielder’s asking price.
“In that moment I was upset with Pep because when Pep does a statement like that the value of the player goes (up)!” the Wolves boss said.
“When I am now looking for him, I will need to pay £10million more because when any manager like Pep says one thing about one player, he puts £10million more (on the fee).”
Lage added: “I don’t know if anyone else (from a Champions League club) tried to sign him.
“But it is not about just the money and the club, it is about the project you can offer for him in this moment.
“What I know is that when I start to work with him, you can see the player he is.”
Following the departure of Morgan Gibbs-White for Nottingham Forest on Friday, it is expected Nunes will go straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
Lage, though, warned against expecting too much too soon from the club’s latest recruit.
“He is living in a hotel, doesn’t have a car yet and needs to learn how to drive on the other side – but the most important for him is to feel comfortable,” the Wolves boss said.
“We are buying a player for the long term. We don’t make any pressure – if he comes on from the bench and plays for 20 minutes, I don’t want him to score three goals against Tottenham.
“What I want is for him to start getting confidence and to know his team-mates and to play like he did for Sporting.”