Wolves look set to complete the signing of Atletico Madrid striker Matheus Cunha in January, although the move could easily turn into Julen Lopetegui‘s first disaster as manager of the Midlands club.
What’s the word?
According to Express and Star journalist Liam Keen, Cunha has undergone a medical with the Old Gold and will join on-loan, with an obligation to buy for £40m in the summer.
He reiterates that the £40m purchase option will be activated should certain clauses be met, which are expected to be a formality and that the transfer will become permanent regardless of whether or not Wolves can remain in the Premier League.
A potential Loptegui disaster?
Lopetegui has clearly identified the need for a striker at Molineux and has worked quickly to bring in an exciting prospect with plenty of experience at the top level.
Cunha has featured in the Champions League with Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig and, while he has struggled in spells with both those clubs – scoring just 16 times in over 100 outings – his excellent form at Hertha Berlin suggests that he could be Wolves’ saviour this season.
The 23-year-old would contribute an impressive 13 goals and ten assists in 40 appearances for the Bundesliga side, but has struggled to replicate that form since his move to Madrid, with just seven goals and eight assists in 54 appearances.
Wolves have managed just eight goals in the Premier League so far this term and struggled to break down Gillingham earlier this week, with only late goals from Raul Jimenez and Rayan Ait-Nouri securing the win against the side rock bottom of League Two.
Considering the decline of Jimenez, alongside injuries to Pedro Neto and Sasa Kalajdzic, there will be a lot of pressure on Cunha to be the main man at Molineux for the rest of the campaign.
In an ideal world, the Brazil international will fire in the goals to keep Lopetegui’s side in the Premier League and more than justify his fee but if he fails to do so and Wolves are relegated, it could prove to be a hugely costly mistake.
The frontman is unlikely to want to play in the Championship with Wolves and would surely leave for a big loss, alongside other big names on a cut-price deal, as the Midlands club would take a huge hit financially from relegation.
There is no doubt that £40m for a striker who has failed to score this season is a big risk and it could massively backfire on Lopetegui if the Old Gold do succumb to relegation from the top flight in 2023.