Why Wolves should make it a priority to offer Joao Moutinho a new deal
Wolves have managed to book their berth in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League this season following a successful qualification campaign but things haven’t really gone according to the script for Nuno Espirito Sato’s side in the Premier League.
The Black Country outfit took everyone by surprise with a thumping return to the top-flight the last term, which not only included a seventh-place finish in the Premier League but also a surge to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, but they are yet to live up to the hype thus far this season.
Along with Watford, Wolves are one of the two sides in the top-flight who are yet to pick up their first victory of the season and Nuno Santo will be hoping for a turnaround of fortunes when they play host to Chelsea.
Its easier said than done, though, given that Wolves looked far from their best in the draws against Leicester City and Burnley and lost 3-2 away at Everton prior to the international break.
The fans have every reason to be disappointed with their club’s lacklustre start to the campaign following a summer transfer window that witnessed the arrival of promising talents like Patrick Cutrone, Pedro Neto, Bruno Jordao and Jesus Vallejo, while loans deals for Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker were also made permanent.
Veteran Joao Moutinho, though, has been one of the brightest sparks amidst the club’s mediocre run of form in the Premier League and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, Wolves should act quickly to tie him down to a new deal.
Moutinho, even at the age of 33, still looks good enough to attract plenty of suitors and Wolves should be aware of that.
The Portuguese international, who arrived at Molineux for a fee of just £5 million last summer, proved himself to be one of the best bargains in the division since the turn of the decade with a string of impressive displays in the previous campaign and he has continued his merry way this term as well.
Moutinho started 35 games in the league for Wolves last season and his all-around displays were crucial to the team’s success on all fronts, with the veteran turning back the clock with a tally of 1 goal and 12 assists in all competitions.
Given his advancing years, one would have expected him to receive less playtime in the Premier League but Moutinho has continued to be an irreplaceable asset to the club, with Nuno Santo handing him a start in three out of the first four games in the Premier League.
And his performance in the 1-1 draw against Man United would surely have reminded one and all that he is still very much capable of delivering the goods against top-quality opposition.
With Dendoncker, Ruben Neves, Morgan Gibbs-White and Romain Saiss all in the ranks, Wolves have a plethora of midfielders who are capable of playing in multiple roles in the middle of the park.
Moutinho, however, with his wealth of top-level experience, winning mentality, tireless work-rate and balance in offensive and defensive attributes, continues to be indispensable to the manager’s philosophy.
Well, it is pretty clear that the Euro 2016 winner still has a lot to offer at the highest level even at the age of 33 and Wolves would probably need to fork out a staggering amount to bring in a like-for-like replacement who encapsulates the same range of qualities as Moutinho.
He is one player in their side who can do special things with the ball and Wolves look like a completely different side when he is at his best, carving out chances and thwarting the opposition with his work-rate in both halves of the pitch.
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To sum it up, losing a player of his calibre on a free transfer would be a big shame for Wolves and a massive blow to their ambitions of consolidating on their newly-found success in the top-flight. That said, they should move quickly to secure his future at the earliest.