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Lopetegui could ruthlessly ditch Nunes in Wolves swoop for £53m “midfield machine” – opinion

Matheus Nunes has been heavily linked with a move away from Wolves in recent weeks, and the Old Gold could potentially return to Sporting Lisbon by bringing in Manuel Ugarte as his replacement.

According to Media Foot, the Midlands outfit and Atletico Madrid have both been in talks with Sporting over a potential move for the 21-year-old, with Wolves’ relationship with his agent Jorge Mendes likely to be crucial in any deal.

The young midfielder has established himself as a key player in Ruben Amorim’s side and has been one of their stars so far this season, although his current €60m (£53m) release clause means that it would be another expensive transfer for the Old Gold to complete.

Wolves already spent big when bringing in Nunes from the Estadio Jose Alvalade last summer, with the midfielder joining in a club-record deal worth £42.2m.

Despite some disappointing form so far in the current campaign, which has seen him register no goals and just one assist in the Premier League, the 24-year-old still has multiple suitors, with recent reports suggesting that Liverpool are especially keen on signing him in 2023.

If Julen Lopetegui does opt to cash in on the young midfielder, then Ugarte could be an ideal replacement, and he may even prove to be an upgrade when you compare their respective statistics from the season so far.

This graphic emphasises that the Uruguayan would be a significant upgrade from a defensive perspective in Lopetegui’s side compared to Nunes, and on current form, he could be a far better player to have in a relegation battle.

Ugarte’s ability to win back possession  has earned him praise from football talent scout Jacek Kulig, who called him a “midfield machine” after topping the charts for tackles and duels won among all players in the Champions League so far this season.

While Nunes has hitherto struggled to adapt to the Premier League, Ugarte’s strength in winning physical battles suggests that he could be an ideal fit at Molineux.

Therefore, if Wolves splash the cash on another player from Sporting Lisbon this month, then it would not be a surprise to see Nunes offloaded amid Liverpool’s interest in him.

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