Wolves have hinted they want to extend the contract of player of the year Joao Moutinho.
Managing director Laurie Dalrymple believes the 32-year-old midfielder has many years left at the top and wants them to be at Molineux, where he has been an inspiration and got the fans’ vote this week.
Moutinho has just over 12 months left on his contract having signed a two-year deal last summer when he arrived from Monaco.
The 114-capped Portugal international has since been hailed as one of the bargains of the season after arriving for £5m, and Dalrymple says they want him to stick around for a lot longer.
“He looks after himself extremely well and I think he’s got many more years left in him where he can hopefully perform at that level, hopefully performing with us, where he can pass on his expertise and wisdom into the group,” said the Wolves MD.
“We knew we wanted to complement that youthful experience and youthful energy with some wider experience from someone who had operated at a very senior level.
“His performances on the pitch have been absolutely phenomenal this year, and that’s been the same, game after game after game.”
Moutinho has thrived on the challenge of his first stint in the English top flight and it is a case of third time lucky after previous moves to Tottenham and Everton broke down at the last minute.
“For me, the Premier League is the best league in the world and I am enjoying it a lot,” he said. “It’s more physical but I think I’ve done well and I try to do better to help the team.”
The former Porto midfielder is one of four ever presents for Wolves in the Premier League this season, with Conor Coady, Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez.
Moutinho has impressed his team-mates as much as the Wolves supporters, not just with his vision and skill but his habits off the field too.
Defender Ryan Bennett said: “The thing that set him apart when he first came here was just his willingness to win. It caught me by surprise.
“When you see someone who has achieved what he has achieved, to have that drive and determination of a kid really, it’s great to see.
“He hates getting beat. That’s every single day and every single thing we do at the training ground.”
Midfield team-mate at club and international level Ruben Neves perhaps appreciates the input of Moutinho more than anyone, and believes his pedigree from the highest level makes him stand out.
“He’s played Champions League, Europa League and international games, so we always learn from him, and he’s always trying to teach us something and help us,” said Neves.
Captain Coady added: “You hear things about people signing and when you hear his name crop up, you want him to sign, it’s as simple as that. You want to play with him and you want to learn from him.
“Whether it’s speeding up a game or slowing down a game, knowing when to do things like that has been really vital for us. He’s been a fantastic addition to the squad this year.”
Sporting director Kevin Thelwell believes Moutinho sets the right example for others to follow.
“He’s got a real strong mentality. He’s got the ability to work for the team and be a part of the team, and I think that comes out in all of his performances,” said Thelwell.