Nunes refusing to train with Wolves in a bid to force move to Man City
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton midfielder Matheus Nunes is set to get his wish and complete a move to English and European champion Manchester City in the final hours of the transfer window.
Nunes has been refusing to train with Wolves in an effort to force a move to City, which had an initial bid for the Portugal international rejected last week.
Now, a verbal agreement has reportedly been reached on a fee of 55 million euros ($60 million), though there had been no formal agreement between the teams by late Wednesday.
The transfer window closes on Friday, by which time Nunes — who only joined in the 2022 offseason — should be a City player.
“He’s not with the group at the moment, his choice,” Wolves manager Gary O’Neil said of Nunes on Tuesday, after the team's win over Blackpool in the English League Cup. “After the (first) bid from Manchester City, he decided it was best for him to not be with the group. Club policy and how we deal with things like that is set in place."
O’Neil stopped short of criticizing Nunes’ actions, saying he first needed to speak to the player.
“You never need (to stop training) but players do,” O'Neil said. “You’ve seen it all over the country, I’ve seen it when I was playing, we’ve seen it in recent transfer windows, I can think of one in January, and it won’t change how the club deals with any bids or any situation.
“He definitely didn’t (need to) and there is a way to deal with these things but I’ll keep most of my thoughts private for when I speak with Matheus. I will speak to him and there will be advisors and representatives and there’s a lot of things that go on — it’s too simplistic to say, ‘He’s done this and we think that.' There’s a lot involved in situations like this."
City lost Ilkay Gundogan, who joined Barcelona after his contract expired, and signed fellow central midfielder Mateo Kovacic as a replacement. However, that's not a like-for-like replacement, with Kovacic operating in deeper areas than Gundogan, who often played as an attacking midfielder just off Erling Haaland.
The 25-year-old Nunes typically plays further forward than Kovacic so would offer something different to City manager Pep Guardiola, who might be without the injured Kevin De Bruyne until the new year.
Guardiola has previously spoken in glowing terms about Nunes.
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