The January transfer window is in full swing and clubs across Europe are taking the opportunity to strengthen their squads for the upcoming gruelling season of football. Wolverhampton Wanderers are no different and have already closed in on one of their targets. As reported, Wolves have completed a deal for Brazilian midfielder Joao Gomes.
Gomes is currently plying his trade for Brazilian club Flamengo and is all set to undergo a medical ahead of putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half-year contract at Molineux. The 21-year-old is set to become the Premier League club’s sixth transfer of the month, in what has been a very busy period for the Midlands club. He will become the 12th overall signing of the club this season, with the club also signing six players in the summer transfer window.
Fiquei muito feliz com o seu interesse, para mim é uma honra. Sinto muito 🙏🏻🤝🏻
Foi um prazer conhecer você 🤝🏻
— João Gomes (@GomesOficial08) January 27, 2023
Manager Julen Lopetegui has identified Joao Gomes as a player that will not only improve the club in the short-term, but has the potential to be one of the key figures at the club in the future. The club is currently locked in a relegation battle, sitting in 17th place, level on points with 18th-placed Bournemouth and just two points ahead of bottom-placed Southampton. Lopetegui believes Joao Gomes can help the club greatly in their quest for survival and believes the midfielder will thrive alongside the likes of Ruben Neves and veteran Joao Moutinho in the midfield.
Joao Gomes was an integral part of the Flamengo side that lifted the Copa Libertadores in 2022, appearing in 12 of the 13 games they played. Primarily a central midfielder, Gomes also has the ability to operate as a defensive midfielder or in a more attacking role. While he is not a defensive anchor, the 21-year-old has drawn comparisons to Liverpool’s Fabinho for his ability to recover possession with efficiency.
However, he has been deployed more often in the central midfield role where he seems comfortable and has produced great displays for Flamengo. Gomes stands out in the Flamengo side with his exceptional displays and is always on the move on the pitch. He likes to layoff the ball quite often, but also has the prowess of dribbling the ball past opposition defenders.
Wolves have been struggling with ball progression this season and Lopetugui has sought to address the issue by bringing in Gomes. The Brazilian works hard in possession, offering technical quality while on the ball and can pick out runs of Wolves attackers who have been starved of service lately. The manager has already signed Matheus Cunha this month and hopes to partner Joao Gomes with him, which has gotten the Wolves fans excited.
A product of the Flamengo youth academy, the midfielder broke into the senior side just about a couple years ago, making his official debut in November 2020. He was on the fringes in the 2021 season, but has established his name as one of the first on the teamsheet this season and is a particular fan favorite with the Flamengo faithful. Considered as one of Brazil’s most exciting youth prospects, Gomes has had interest from the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and French club Lyon.
Lopetegui was appointed by the club midway through the first half of the season, replacing Portuguese manager Bruno Lage. Fans and the board were disappointed with Lage’s style of play and overall results which left the club in the relegation zone and he was sacked after managing for just 9 games in the 22/23 season. Results have not vastly improved under the new manager, but the club’s board have shown their support for the new manager by backing him in the transfer market and signing the targets that the Spaniard has identified as suitable for the club.
A squad overhaul is underway at the club, while also making sure that they survive in the Premier League for another season. The club’s main goal at the moment is survival, but they have made smart signings with an eye on the future.
The signing of Joao Gomes has not come easy for the Midlands club. They faced stiff competition from French club Lyon who tried hard to lure the midfielder to France, matching Wolves’ offer. However, Gomes had his heart set on a move to the Premier League and Flamengo relented, agreeing on a deal that also included a sell-on clause. The 21-year-old has earned the praise of critics and pundits with his performance and this is described as a very good signing by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Whether the midfielder helps the club stay in the top-flight of English football remains to see, but there is no doubt that in Joao Gomes the club have gotten a potential world-class player.