Menu Close

Jota – I wouldn’t swap £80m Maguire for Wolves captain Coady

Diogo Jota insists he wouldn’t swap Wolves captain Conor Coady or any of his team-mates for £80m Harry Maguire.
Wolves host Manchester United at a sold-out Molineux on Monday night hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins against the Old Trafford giants after beating them 2-1 twice at home last season. Jota scored in both games, memorably leaving Luke Shaw on his backside on the halfway line prior to scoring the second goal in the FA Cup quarter-final in March, before equalising in the Premier League win in April, two weeks later.
Maguire recently joined United for £80m from Leicester, a world record fee for a defender, eclipsing the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018. Maguire and Coady were team-mates for the 2013-14 season at Sheffield United in League One, when the current Wolves captain was on loan from Liverpool. Wolves actually failed in a £2.5m bid for Maguire at the end of that season under Kenny Jackett.
Jota, who is likely to be marked by the England international on Monday, was asked if he would trade Maguire for Coady or any other Wolves defender. “That is some question,” he told the Sunday Express. “I think Harry Maguire has a lot of quality but I know the players that we have in our team and I trust them. It (the £80m fee) is hard to explain. The market is unreal now in my opinion. But (that is) nothing to do with me, it is to do with the clubs and it is the moment we are living. We just have to respect that amount.”
Wolves finished seventh last season, nine points and one place behind United. Jota admits it’s going to be hard to repeat that position this term, and to close that gap. “It’s too soon to think of the final places,” he said. “We got seventh place, but it’s very hard to get it again. Loads of teams have spent more money than us, trying to achieve that position, so we have to realise it’s not going to be easy to get seventh. We go game by game and in the end we’ll see.”
Jota admits the memorable double victory against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will count for nothing as they prepare for their opening Premier League home game of the season. “This is a new season, so nothing to do with the last one,” he added. “They are very strong at the moment, with their first result of the season (4-0 win against Chelsea), so I think it’s going to be hard for us. We have to understand the moments of the team and when we can, try to get on the attack and score goals.
“It’s a new season so they (United) have had more time to work with the players. They made their own changes, every team in the transfer market tried to improve their team, and we have to understand we’re going to face a big team and it’s going to be hard.”
United have strengthened with the signings of Maguire and £45m Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace. Jota insists Wolves won’t be daunted by facing United’s big names and that the Wolves fans can close any gap between the teams.
“When you play it’s 11 against 11, even if they have more quality on paper, we have to match that with our fans, playing at home with 100 per cent effort, trying to win the match,” he said. “Our fans are always with us, but in that game (against United in the FA Cup) we understood the importance of going to Wembley to them. It made a difference a little bit, but we count on them every game. Monday night they will be here, supporting us.”
Jota goes into the United game full of confidence after scoring another memorable goal on Thursday night, his scissors kick completing a 4-0 success against FC Pynuik in the Europa League and an 8-0 aggregate victory. “Even if you play just a few minutes, you have to take advantage of them, trying to do things,” he said. “Of course, when you can play and score it’s always good. I’m not an acrobatic guy, I’ve not tried it too much, but you just think and it went well.”
The Portuguese forward admitted the scoreline helped give him the confidence to try the eye-catching move. “You are winning already, 7-0 on aggregate, so maybe you feel more freedom to try things, but I think that kind of situation can happen in every moment in every game,” he added. “Everyone likes to score and a goal always gives you confidence, particularly if you’re a striker. You love scoring goals and assisting. It’s good to get minutes and everyone who gets minutes is happy.”
Victory gave Wolves a glamour tie against Torino in the play-off, with the first leg in Turin next Thursday. Jota is happy with extra games that will bring. “The consequences of us finishing seventh is more games, a European competition,” he said. “We know how hard it will be to go through Torino, travelling to Italy, but first we have Monday and then we prepare for Torino.”