Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui admits that Matheus Cunha will join from Atletico Madrid during the January transfer window with Premier League rivals Arsenal, Everton and Leeds set to miss out, speaking to the Birmingham Mail.
It’s rare, these days, to see such a high-profile transfer played out so publicly.
Lopetegui broke from usual tradition earlier in the week when admitting that Cunha was ‘close’ to becoming Wolverhampton Wanderers’ first signing of 2023. Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone then said something similar when quizzed about the Brazil international’s future.
And, during his Friday press conference ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Everton, Lopetegui was quick to hand the watching Wolves supporters an early Christmas present.
“Today I have to talk about him,” the former Sevilla, Real Madrid and Spain coach explains.
“It’s clear he (Cunha) is going to be with us. (The deal) is going to happen once the market is open. Now, he’s going to be our player. But in the next matches we have to focus on the players that are here.
“He’s a good player. I know him, and I think he’s a good signing for us. For the present and the future. When the market opens, Cunha is going to help us.”
Wolves beat Arsenal, Leeds United and Everton to Matheus Cunha of Atletico Madrid
Per Fabrizio Romano, the one-time RB Leipzig youngster will join on an initial loan deal. Wolves will have the option to sign Cunha permanently for a fee in the region of £45 million should he impress in Old Gold between now and June.
According to 90Min, meanwhile, the chance to work with Lopetegui was a key factor in Cunha’s decision to choose bottom-of-the-table Wolves over a host of other Premier League clubs. Everton, Aston Villa and long-time admirers Leeds United were among those showing an interest.
ESPN reporter Julien Laurens, meanwhile, insists that Cunha was also on the radar of an Arsenal side who lost star striker Gabriel Jesus to a potential long-term injury during the World Cup break.
“I think they have already (targeted) a few names, especially in the striker role,” Laurens says.
“A name like Matheus Cunha, for example, has been thrown out there. I think he is someone Mikel Arteta likes for a lot of reasons. I think he would fit quite well with what Arsenal are trying to do.”