Matheus Cunha has joined Wolverhampton on loan for now, but probably on a permanent deal by the end of the season if the agreed clauses between both clubs are met. In that case, the Brazilian striker will stay at the Wolves until 2027 in exchange for 50 million euros, a quantity that would certainly help to cushion the financial drop that Atlético de Madrid will experience due to their failure in the Champions League.
Cunha leaves Atlético without too much success after a year and a half at the club and with barely any starting opportunities under coach Diego Pablo Simeone.
In the end, numbers never lie and clearly prove that his time at Atlético, apart from his bond with the crowd, has been low: 54 games, seven goals and eight assists. Those stats might be enough for a second unit guy as he was last season, but not for the inheritor of Luis Suárez’s number 9 this year, as he is leaving without having scored a single goal in this campaign after three months into the competition.
From my point of view, the main reason why Cunha has not shown his best level in such a needed team of an offensive leader since his arrival is that, apart from Atlético’s poor game, he is not a pure striker, which is the way he has been required to play at Atlético.
At least, not the classical finisher and scorer ‘9’ that can help his team when they need him the most. In fact, the Brazilian has missed too many scoring chances when he has had to finish the offensive actions and his career scoring stats are also poor.
Cunha is more of a complement than a reference. A mobile, fast and associative player. Cunha is more of a winger than a striker, even though he has barely played in that position at Atlético.
However, the reality of Atlético since his arrival is that Simeone has usually chosen to dispense with wingers, or he has given that role to Yannick Carrasco, as the team has most of the time attacked through the left wing, which is precisely the side where Cunha has been around the most when he has been on the field.
But it is also unquestioned that Cunha has neither taken advantage of his opportunities nor given Simeone reasons to count on him more frequently. Even with João Félix injured or absent, Griezmann on his worst drought, or Morata being Morata (missing chances), Cunha has never been the solution. In fact, he has been more of an extra problem, based on his low performing.
Now Cunha has been added to the list of offensive players that have not been successful at Atlético and he does so at the most needed time for the club through a sell for a higher price than both his performing and his market value. In addition, we will now be able to witness if he can be more productive under another coach with different ideas, or if he fails in the attempt once again.
Main image: @Atleti.