After joining Atletico Madrid for nearly $32 million from Hertha BSC, Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha will join Wolves in 20th to help them fight their way out of the relegation zone.
cunha, who joined Atleti in August 2021, was set to bring more firepower to a side fresh off a LaLiga-winning season. But Cunha found himself on the bench behind players like Joao Felix, Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann. In the limited minutes he was given, he showed signs of brilliance, but it was not enough to see him promoted to the first team.
Difficult year for Atleti and Matheus Cunha
It’s been more of the same this season for the eight-cap striker. In a tough year for Atleti (they are fifth in LaLiga and the last time they finished fifth was in 2012), Cunha has only started twice and played in 11 LaLiga games. Despite his two assists from the bench, he is buried under the wealth of options they currently have.
Cunha’s reported loan with a mandatory future fee of approximately $53 million will be their most experienced transfer to date. It comes just six months after Wolves handed out $54 million combined on attackers Goncalo Guedes and Sasa Kalajdzic.
Still, Kalajdzic tore his ACL just 45 minutes into his season debut, ending his season. Combined with the fact that Guedes has been somewhat mediocre, this has resulted in the worst bout in the league. It’s the main reason why Wolves attacked Cunha along with other playmakers. Wolves are said to be snooping around free agent Isco and Angers midfielder Azzedine Ounahi.
My heart will always have a piece of Atleti! You always had my everything simply because I felt you gave me everything. Thank you very much Cunha.
Matheus Cunha announces his heartfelt departure from Atletico Madrid
Analyzing the transfer
This could be one of the smartest transfers of all time to save a struggling Wolves, or it could another dent in sporting director Matt Hobbs’ record. Buying a struggling prodigy hungry for first-team football may be Wolves’ biggest risk of all time.
Julen Lopetegui knows Cunha well; Cunha even got an assist in Atleti’s 2-0 win over Sevilla. He should know Cunha’s untapped potential; that he is a pure talent and that he has the potential to become a good Premier League player. But he should too. Cunha could also turn out to be one of the Premier League’s biggest flops, especially with all Wolves forwards vying for more playing time.
If Cunha can live up to his potential and lead Wolves out of the red, he will fit perfectly into Lopetegui’s favored 4-3-3. He is most comfortable as a centre-forward, but has playing experience on both sides as a winger. Cunha also played as an attacking midfielder with some success.
Cunha must prove Diego Simeone wrong and reward the high transfer fee with a quick start. It’s possible, as his earlier years at Hertha BSC show, but one wonders if he’s sharp enough to beat the competition for Wolves’ scarce attacking positions, let alone succeed in the ultra-competitive Premier League.
The best way to start is a game with Everton in 17th place. Despite its low ranking, Everton have conceded the fourth fewest goals with just 17, behind only City, Arsenal and Newcastle. Cunha will next take on Chelsea in 7th before heading into the new year with a rivalry match against Sevilla in 12th.
Photo credit: IMAGO/NurPhoto
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