Scout Reports

FPL new signings: Who is Wolves forward Matheus Cunha?

Julen Lopetegui arrived at Wolverhampton Wanderers with a plan to drag them away from last place and ensure Premier League survival in the second half of this season.

His opening league match brought a late away win at Everton, 24 hours after Matheus Cunha (£5.5m) was announced on Christmas Day as his first signing at Molineux.

The Brazilian forward arrives on loan from Atletico Madrid in a deal that will become permanent in the summer for a club-record £43m fee.

So can the 23-year-old help pull Wolves away from relegation and what impact will he have in FPL?

We’ll attempt to answer those questions below.


THE HISTORY

Born in Joao Pessoa, northeastern Brazil, Cunha played youth football for Coritiba before making the bold decision of transferring to Switzerland aged 18.

At Sion, his sole campaign brought ten goals and eight assists, as a late run of form took them from bottom-of-the-league with eight games remaining, all the way up to mid-table safety.

SeasonTeamDivisionStarts (subs)GoalsAssists
2022/23Atletico MadridLa Liga2 (9)02
2021/22Atletico MadridLa Liga8 (21)66
2021/22Hertha BerlinBundesliga1 (0)01
2020/21Hertha BerlinBundesliga25 (2)75
2019/20Hertha BerlinBundesliga9 (2)52
2019/20RB LeipzigBundesliga2 (8)01
2018/19RB LeipzigBundesliga9 (16)21
2017/18SionSwiss Super League24 (5)108

Unsurprisingly, such numbers at a young age brought attention from Europe’s biggest talent gatherers. RB Leipzig won the race to sign Cunha, where competition for places was tough and only 11 of his 35 league appearances were starts.

Before leaving for fellow Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, there was time for Cunha to score a wondergoal nominated for the 2019 Puskas Award. Against Bayer Leverkusen, he did a roulette turn on the last defender before casually dinking it over the goalkeeper, all in one fluid movement.

A year-and-a-half in Berlin returned Cunha to regular starts and goals, netting 12 times alongside seven assists.

Then, continuing the pattern, he was snapped up by a bigger club that could only offer a bit-part role. This time it was Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone, with just ten of 40 La Liga appearances beginning at kick-off and his ten Champions League outings totalling a low 258 minutes.

Atletico will make a tidy profit on Cunha once this obligatory transfer goes through and perhaps it will give the forward another chance to break into his national team.

Shortly after starring in 2021’s Olympic gold medal victory for Brazil’s under-23s, he made his debut for the senior squad. However, he is yet to score from eight caps and was not part of the recent World Cup delegation.


PLAYING STYLE

According to WhoScored, most of his career has been as a centre-forward although there is an element of versatility that can see him used on either side of the focal point.

He’s an excellent dribbler and has the technique to be an effective long-range shooter. Wolves fans will also be pleased to hear that Cunha is a battler, usually helping his team to defend when needed although perhaps there’s an overeagerness that sees him commit regular fouls.

“He is rangy and quick, two footed and versatile and – most interesting from the point of view of the Brazil senior side – he is very proficient at playing with his back to goal.” – TIm Vickery

In fact, the official Bundesliga website compared him to Roberto Firmino (£8.0m) in a profile piece.


WHERE CUNHA FITS IN AT WOLVES

Lopetegui has come up against Cunha on various occasions whilst managing Sevilla. He clearly saw enough talent to encourage such a large commitment from the Wolves board.

“I feel that he is a very complete forward. He has a good condition and good skills, not only technically, but physically, because this is England and in the Premier League you have to be very combative if you want to survive.

“I think he has this profile to play here for a lot of years. Of course, we are going to help him to develop his strengths in the future.” – Julen Lopetegui

With Wolves being the Premier League’s lowest scorers so far, Cunha could well be thrown straight into the starting XI for Wednesday night’s meeting with Aston Villa.

Diego Costa (£5.5m) is yet to score – with Danny Welbeck (£6.5m) the one player to have more goal attempts without netting one – but Cunha is excited to link up with his good pal.

“He’s a very good guy, a really smiley guy, a really Brazilian guy and we’re always smiling together. I called him and he said to me, ‘Come, come. Please, please. It’s a big group here. It’s unbelievable. The guys are nice.’ We got off in this situation, and I said, ‘OK, I will come my friend, wait for me.’” – Matheus Cunha on Diego Costa

As explored in our Scout Report on Lopetegui, the Spaniard likes to use a high-tempo 4-3-3 formation with intense counter-pressing and a pair of attacking full-backs that allow inside forwards to play narrower.

The Firmino comparison was based on an ability to drop into midfield and force defenders to think, so it’s interesting that Lopetegui usually likes his sole forward to be a similar false nine.


IS CUNHA WORTH BUYING IN FPL?

If the Brazilian forward does indeed come straight into the line-up, his £5.5m price tag isn’t bad – the only regular starters around that price are Dominic Solanke (£5.7m), Bryan Mbeumo (£5.8m), Brennan Johnson (£5.6m) and whichever Crystal Palace forward is currently in favour.

Then again, a lot of FPL managers either prefer to have a five-man midfield or will have enough money left to not require such cheapness.

Using our Season Ticker, it can be seen that Wolves have the fourth-worst fixture run over the next eight Gameweeks. Furthermore, their one game that needs rearranging is a trip to Liverpool, denting any Double Gameweek appeal.

There is also competition from Costa and Raul Jimenez (£6.7m) to consider in the longer term. So, as with many new signings, having a wait-and-see approach is probably the way to proceed. Until Gameweek 23, at least.

Haaland Foden


FPLMarc Newcastle fan that spends far too much time thinking about FPL.

251 Comments Post a Comment
  1. BeaversWithAttitude
    • 5 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Get in, Mitro!

  2. BIG BOY BRUNO
    • 7 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    OMG YES SCENES!!!

    1. BIG BOY BRUNO
      • 7 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Though Ward cleanie gone but will take it Mitro (C)