Despite promise, this 22-year-old Sporting starlet is not who Newcastle should sign

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Why Newcastle United should keep their eyes off Matheus Nunes

According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo via Sport Witness (h/t Chronicle Live), Newcastle United have made an offer for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes.

It is widely acknowledged that Magpies boss Steve Bruce is in the market for a new central midfielder to bolster his squad in the January window. While a loan move for Leicester City star Hamza Choudhury has been touted, Newcastle are apparently monitoring other targets heading into the showdown week. 


Matheus Nunes started his development at GDU Ericeirense in the lower leagues of Portugal’s footballing pyramid. He never made a competitive appearance, however, before earning a professional contract with Estoril Praia in the second-tier in 2018.

Sporting’s Brazilian midfielder Matheus Nunes celebrates after scoring a goal during the Portuguese League football match between Sporting and Braga at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on January 2, 2021. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

After making only 8 appearances for Estoril, the Brazilian-born central midfielder was snapped up by Sporting Lisbon in the top-flight in January 2019. Nunes initially featured for the club’s U-23 side before making the step up to the first-team in the previous campaign. 

The 22-year-old made 10 league appearances for Sporting in his debut season last term and has started just 5 times for the Portuguese giants in the Liga NOS so far this season. Nunes has contributed with 1 goal and 2 assists in 32 appearances for Sporting in all competitions so far. 

Newcastle need more quality in their midfield

Truth be told, Newcastle United aren’t really short of cover in the middle of the park. The Magpies roped in Jeff Hendrick this past summer to bolster that department. With Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Jonjoe Shelvey, Isaac Hayden also competing for places, Bruce looks more than well-stocked in his midfield options.

LISBON, PORTUGAL – SEPTEMBER 24: Matheus Nunes of Sporting CP during the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round match between Sporting CP and Aberdeen at Estadio Jose Alvalade on September 24, 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

Having said that, however, Bruce’s interest in signing a new midfielder this month still makes a lot of sense.

Lack of a dominating presence in the middle has been earmarked as one of the key reasons behind Newcastle’s slump in the Premier League this term. The Magpies have conceded 34 goals in 20 games so far, which hardly makes for impressive readings on paper.

While the defenders are partly to blame for that dismal record, those in front of the backline haven’t done an awful lot to stem the inflow of goals either.

Is Nunes really the answer?

Newcastle can certainly do with an all-action box-to-box midfielder to add more steel and substance to their midfield. While Matheus Nunes fits the mould of a promising young player in that position, the Brazilian’s lack of experience at the highest level makes him a potentially risky signing for Bruce’s brigade.

Matheus Nunes foi "lançado" por Varandas, mas "é preciso dar-lhe tempo"  para "crescer e errar" - Renascença
Source: Getty Images

With just more than 30 senior appearances for Sporting under his belt, Nunes hardly ticks the box as a genuine upgrade on Newcastle’s existing options. Of course, he still has plenty of room for development at 22, but the Magpies already have up and coming players like Sean and Matty Longstaff.

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What Newcastle need is an immediate game-changer in the middle of the park and the Portuguese league star might not be an ideal recruitment in that regard. Having said that, Bruce would be better off looking at other avenues to strengthen his squad.