Go back a few short years, and the idea of Leeds United signing a Portuguese international began and ended with Helder Costa. The cornrowed winger was a flop at Elland Road, and was quickly moved on to La Liga to start again. This summer, though, Leeds are set for a third year in the Premier League – and with several squad holes still to fill in their team. This means that player who were once out of reach are now interested in coming to the club – and this includes the arrival of Matheus Nunes.

Long linked with Portuguese friendly Wolverhampton Wanderers, reports in Portugal suggest Leeds are now ahead of the others. Nunes, a Portugal international, is expected to leave Sporting Clube de Portugal this summer. The midfielder has been a consistent standout since they won the 2020-21 league title, and was again outstanding last year as the Lions finished second in the Portuguese league table.

According to the press in Portugal, Leeds are very keen to do a deal for the midfielder and tie it up ASAP. Seen as a natural successor to Kalvin Phillips, Nunes would help top fill in a big gap in the middle of the pitch. Given how much Jesse Marsch needs his midfield to help dominate and apply his system, the arrival of a new midfielder should be a priority.

Liverpool a late name linked with Nunes linked

Having discovered how good Portuguese football is themselves, Liverpool have been making lots of moves in this market for the last 18-24 months. The Reds have recently made some big signings from the Portuguese league, and have also a growing Portuguese contingent within the squad. They have therefore unsurprisingly been named as a potential suitor for Nunes.

With Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain potential exits before the end of the window, Liverpool might be on the lookout for a new midfielder. Though they have high hopes for the likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Fabio Carvalho, that has never stopped Jurgen Klopp and co. from spending when it feels needed.

So, Leeds should expect that a move for Nunes is not something they can waste time on. Other similarly big clubs are sniffing around, and this means that they will need to box clever if they want to bring in a player of a suitable standard like Nunes.

Deals are never easy in the summer, and Leeds are also in a tough position due to their visible financial strength. As such, expect teams to be using Leeds as a high-price barometer due to the Phillips and Raphinha money burning holes in their pocket.

Other teams will look to extract maximum value from the Whites, but it appears that Leeds will be spending regardless of this fact. Whatever happens, though, it is clear that they see midfield – and Nunes – as a priority. With so much still to be done this summer, then, it should come as no surprise that moves for a midfield playmaker are growing in priority. Phillips is gone, and the arrival of a new midfield maestro could be just what is needed to help avoid the loss of the hometown hero.