Wolves magician Joao Moutinho has been backed to win a new contract to continue his Molineux fairytale.
The midfielder turned 33 on Sunday but he is out of contract at the end of the season and some fans are urging the club to tie him down to a new deal. Moutinho, who has previously talked about wanting to play until he is 40, has been described as the best Wolves player since Peter Knowles by many and is still wowing fans with his performances. As yet, there is no news on whether contract talks have started however, although now departed managing director Laurie Dalrymple said in May the club want him to stay for ‘many years’.
Wolves legend Kenny Hibbitt knows a bit about playing midfield and has watched a lot of Moutinho since the Portugal international signed for £5m from Monaco in July 2018. Hibbitt believes Moutinho, who is Wolves’ highest paid player, has earned an extension to his two-year contract.
“I definitely would offer him a new deal because you can’t beat experience,” said the former midfielder. “From my point of view, you don’t get rid of players who are still giving performances like he is.
“He can control a game because he reads it so well, he’s very comfortable on the ball, he very rarely gives it away, he starts things off and he still gets around the pitch very well. He’s also very consistent – Nuno knows what he’s going to get from him, and even if he only gets 70 minutes out of him, it will be worth it because of what he can do.”
Moutinho has been an ever present in the Premier League since his arrival and has featured in all 10 league and cup games so far this term. Hibbitt believes the former Porto man will have a similar impact off the pitch as well.
“He will also have a big influence in the dressing room,” he said. “If he can use that to help the younger players to achieve a similar standard then he is worth every penny, because to have a good dressing room, you need good, senior pros helping the younger players on and off the pitch, like Mike Bailey and Derek Dougan did for us.”
Hibbitt feels Nuno must continue keep the right blend of players so Moutinho can flourish. “Moutinho has good players around him who will help him and he needs that to help him do what he can do,” he added. “He’s playing for a successful team and if that’s the case, it doesn’t matter what age you are, they will help him through, along with his own passion, desire and commitment. But if he hasn’t got good young players around him, that’s when you can struggle as an experienced player.
“I went to Bristol Rovers after Coventry at the end of my career and it was a struggling side. The ball was getting knocked over my head, I would chase it and it would be knocked over my head the other way and I ended up with a stiff neck!
“I wasn’t getting the balls that I got when I was playing for a top club. If you’re running around not getting a kick, it doesn’t half make life difficult.
“Steve Daley went to Manchester City and within days they had sold four internationals and so he struggled, but he needed those around him so he could play the way he could.
“I don’t know what will happen with Moutinho but I’m sure Nuno will make the right call.”