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Spurs v Wolves preview: A potential first look at new signing Matheus Nunes

Wolves’ trip to Spurs may give fans their first glimpse of new record signing Matheus Nunes.

Matheus Nunes (Getty)
Matheus Nunes (Getty)

The midfielder was unveiled late on Wednesday evening in a £38million deal, with £4million in add-ons, overtaking the £35million Wolves paid for Fabio Silva in 2020.

Head coach Bruno Lage faces a decision on whether to throw him into the starting XI after minimal training, as he tackles a tough fixture against Spurs tomorrow.

Nunes arrives having played the first two league games for Sporting and is ready to feature for Wolves, but Lage often prefers to give new signings a bit of time to bed in and get used to his tactics.

However, Nunes knows many of his new team-mates and will be familiar, to some degree, with the style Lage is implementing.

What it could come down to, is whether Joao Moutinho is fit to start. The veteran has returned to training this week after a minor foot injury kept him sidelined for the opening two games of the campaign.

The midfield battle could be key as Spurs will likely start with a good mixture of grit and technical ability in Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Lage may choose to flood the midfield with Moutinho and Leander Dendoncker ahead of Ruben Neves – giving the former two a licence to get forward when Wolves break.

By doing that, however, Wolves will sacrifice an attacker and could have Hwang Hee-chan on the bench.

If they do start with a front three, the lack of a natural striker will likely see Goncalo Guedes through the middle.

Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence have both been regular starters in pre-season and the early parts of the campaign, meaning they are expected to line up alongside Podence.

Again, it means Wolves may need to be compact defensively and spring quick counter-attacks to have any joy against Spurs.

If the team prediction is accurate, one huge positive will be the much healthier bench at Lage’s disposal.

Against Leeds, the nine substitutes were largely made up of academy prospects with very little senior experience between them, meaning Lage only made one change when Chem Campbell replaced Hwang in the 85th minute.

Lage had no other options to change the game and it played a huge part in the defeat at Elland Road.

However, the signings of Nunes and Guedes, alongside the injury returns of Moutinho, Nelson Semedo and Adama Traore, mean the bench looks far stronger.

Add to that the returning Raul Jimenez – who is now back running on the grass and getting closer to fitness – and the signing of a new striker, and Lage’s options improve dramatically.

With the new five-substitutions rule, it is more important than ever for Lage to have players to change the game from the bench and the growing depth and quality in the squad will leave them in a much better position.

Opposition view

Tottenham defender Cristian Romero will miss the clash with Wolves and is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a suspected muscle injury in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.

The Argentine is expected to be out for a number of weeks but will target a speedier recovery – however he will certainly miss the visit of Wolves tomorrow, giving head coach Antonio Conte a selection dilemma.

Davinson Sanchez deputised for Romero in the final three games of last season, helping Spurs to clean sheets against Arsenal, Burnley and Norwich as they clinched Champions League football ahead of rivals Arsenal.

The Colombian is expected to come in at right centre-half against Wolves tomorrow and is likely to keep his place until Romero’s return.

Conte boosted his defensive options with the signing of Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona in the summer but the left-footed Frenchman is expected to provide competition for Ben Davies on the left of the back three.

However, Lenglet was not fit enough to be included in the squad against Chelsea due to a fatigued adductor, with Conte saying last week he was unsure if he would be available for the visit of Wolves.

Japhet Tanganga is Conte’s other senior centre-half, but he is unlikely to start against Wolves

Oliver Skipp remains sidelined this weekend with a hairline fracture in his ankle but is hoping to begin training outdoors in the next few days.

Summer signings Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic and Richarlison are pushing to make their full debuts after coming off the bench at Chelsea, in that comeback draw at Stamford Bridge.

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