MEN Sport understands that City have reached a verbal agreement with Wolves for the transfer of Matheus Nunes. Though the deal is still to be finalised so a medical and personal terms can be arranged, it looks likely to be completed before the Friday deadline.
City will pay a guaranteed 47m fee for Nunes without any add-ons but the deal will see midfielder Tommy Doyle head in the opposite direction. The academy graduate will join on an initial season-long loan but Wolves have the option to purchase him for 5m.
The Blues have been keen to add to their midfield ranks further all summer but Pep Guardiola got particularly eager once it became clear Kevin De Bruyne would be sidelined for a sizeable period. The chase for a new midfielder has been protracted and often gone in different directions.
Mateo Kovacic was signed in the aftermath of Ilkay Gundogan&aposs departure but he was not labelled as a direct replacement by the club. A failed approach for Declan Rice followed suggesting more dynamic, defensive steel was wanted but then it all went quiet on that front as the move for top target Josko Gvardiol dragged on.
Riyad Mahrez&aposs departure to Saudi Arabia threw another spanner in the works and forced City to ponder on how they would replace two of their most experienced players and regular goal threats. The versatility of the likes of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez meant they still had cover for both positions but whichever they chose to strengthen would seem to suggest where the trio would operate in the campaign.
Foden especially seemed destined to finally take up his desired role in the middle of the park, which made the sudden interest in West Ham playmaker Lucas Paqueta puzzling. Not only would he cost an astronomical amount for a player who doesn&apost appear good enough, but he would have been another body blocking Foden&aposs path.
As it transpired, an FA investigation into potential betting rule breaches ended City&aposs interest in the Brazilian and then Jeremy Doku was quickly recruited. With a new winger in as a direct replacement for Mahrez, it finally looked as though City&aposs squad was complete. But they weren&apost done there.
The dreadful news of De Bruyne&aposs four-month minimum layoff meant further recruits were wanted in midfield and City honed in on two targets. A traditional central midfielder in Nunes and yet another creative attacker in Eberechi Eze.
Nunes is the one City have chosen to sign and he should be the only one they sign. Foden has repeatedly proven in 2023 – in the Champions League final and in his magnificent performance against Newcastle in particular – that he is ready to finally fulfil his destiny and pick up the midfield mantle.
Continuing to move for Eze or any other player who operates in the same area would send a worrying signal that Foden is still not viewed as that player. He is a sensational player but is now 23 and it&aposs time he was given real responsibility and a constant presence in the side rather than a supporting role.
Nunes presumably arrives to be backup or a partner for Rodri in the deeper double pivot. Though it&aposs damning news for Kalvin Phillips whose future at City is looking increasingly bleak, it&aposs positive for Foden who shouldn&apost be facing competition for his preferred role from him.