Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Guardiola gutted as Man City refuse to close £5m gap for most-wanted signing whose transfer tactic has backfired

Pep Guardiola and Matheus Nunes

Pep Guardiola may miss out on signing Matheus Nunes

Manchester City are about to concede defeat in their pursuit of top midfield target Matheus Nunes from Wolves, according to reports.

Nunes has become Man City’s priority target after they had to abandon their pursuit of Lucas Paqueta from West Ham United. Either of them could have provided cover for Kevin De Bruyne, who is currently injured.

However, Man City failed with their first bid for Nunes, which would have been worth £47m. They may have since returned with a higher offer, but Wolves are still standing firm.

According to the Daily Mail, Nunes’ current employers are holding out for a fee north of £60m. Unfortunately for Pep Guardiola, who is a major admirer of the Portugal international, Man City are not willing to go above £55m.

After all, they have a track record as a club of not being held to ransom for their targets and backing away if they no longer feel like they would be paying a fair price.

Therefore, the deal is now facing collapse, even though Nunes has been training separately from Wolves while hoping to secure the next step in his career. His tactic to push through the move appears to have failed.

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil has recently confirmed that he expects Nunes to stay at the club beyond the end of the transfer window.

O’Neil told BBC Sport: “After the bid from Manchester City he decided it was best for him to not to be with the group.

“Club policy, and how we deal with things like that, is set in place.

“As far as I’m aware there’s been no improved bid. Matheus Nunes is still our player, we have a long contract still with him and at this moment I fully expect him to be here come 2 September.

“The next few days will be key of course and conversations will take place that will be private between me and Matheus and I’m sure the situation will be resolved.”

Nunes set to stay at Wolves

Wolves still have Nunes under contract at Molineux until 2027, with the option of an extra year. The 25-year-old only joined them last summer from Sporting CP.

He was left out of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over Blackpool because of the ongoing transfer speculation. However, Wolves only have a couple more days to resist the interest from Man City before they can think about reintegrating him.

Since joining the club, Nunes has made 41 appearances for Wolves. After the departures of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho this summer, he could become even more fundamental to O’Neil’s side this season after already standing out in his debut campaign in English football.

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