Joao Carvalho looked set to become the latest Portuguese starlet in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Iberian infused squad during the January transfer window.
The 22-year-old Benfica midfielder had been heavily tipped to join compatriots Helder Costa, Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota at Molineux, with super-agent Jorge Mendes understood to be at the forefront of a deal with a club he has worked with a lot over the years.
Per O Jogo, Wolves entered negotiations to sign Carvalho for about £13 million, and according to Diario de Noticias (27th December, page 34), the Championship leaders looked like the most likely destination for the Portuguese U21 ace after they made a proposal to bring him to the Midlands.
By the time the window slammed shut, however, Carvalho was not a Wolves player. He stayed at Benfica and only time will tell whether that was a good decision – but it does not look like one as things stand.
Carvalho has struggled for game time all season under Eagles boss Rui Vitoria and has only started one Primeira Liga game all season, a 1-1 draw with Belenenses in which he was subbed off after an hour.
And with Lubomir Fejsa, Pizzi, Filip Krovinovic and co all ahead of him in the pecking order, Carvalho has played a grand total of eight minutes of football since the January transfer window slammed shut five weeks ago.
He came off the bench for just two minutes in a 5-1 thrashing of Rio Ave, while managing a slightly longer cameo in a 4-0 win against Boavista.
It is far from certain that Carvalho would have forced Alfred N’Diaye and Romain Saiss out of the starting line up at Wolves, but surely he would have played more regularly than this.