Wolverhampton demonstrated its new-found pull by signing Portugal defender Nelson Semedo from Barcelona in a deal worth up to 40 million euros (46 million dollars) on Wednesday.
The arrival of Semedo on a three-year deal increases the Portuguese connection at Wolves, which also has Portugal internationals Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Rui Patricio in the team and is coached by their compatriot, Nuno Espirito Santo.
With Wolves paying an initial 30 million euros, plus 10 million euros in what Barcelona described as variables, Semedo could end up becoming the clubs record transfer eclipsing the 45 million dollars spent on another Portuguese player, 18-year-old striker Fabio Silva, during the offseason.
“It isn’t often that we have the opportunity to sign a world-class player from a world-class club,” Wolves executive chairman Jeff Shi said. “Nelson’s signing shows we will never stop progressing.”
The 26-year-old Semedo is a right wing back who has played 13 games for Portugal, the European champion, and 124 times for Barcelona after joining from Benfica in 2017. He played 42 games for Barca last season.
Semedo is a direct replacement for Matt Doherty, who was sold to Tottenham in the offseason. Soccer agent Jorge Mendes represents Semedo and has been instrumental in bringing in so many Portuguese players to Wolves, with whom he enjoys a close relationship.
In 2015, Mendes agreed to sell a minority share of his firm to a subsidiary of Fosun International, the Chinese company that has owned Wolves since July 2016. Two years ago, rival clubs complained about Mendes influence at Wolves.
Wolves returned to the Premier League in 2018 after a six-year absence and qualified for the Europa League at the end of the team’s first season back in the top division. Wolves reached the quarterfinals of the competition before losing to eventual winner Sevilla, and also placed seventh in the Premier League last season.
Having opened the new league season with a win at Sheffield United and a loss at home to Manchester City, Wolves next game is on Sunday away to West Ham when Semedo could make his debut.