Now the 2022/23 campaign has concluded, Wolves sporting director Matt Hobbs confirmed three members of Julen Lopetegui’s first-team squad are now out of contract.
Following the season closer at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Joao Moutinho, Adama Traore and Diego Costa are approaching the end of their current contracts at Wolves.
Moutinho passed the 200-appearance mark for Wolves appearance under Lopetegui earlier this calendar year, during the fifth year of a glittering career in old gold, after he joined the club from Monaco during the summer of 2018.
Player of the Season following his debut campaign, Moutinho scored a collection of stunning goals for the club and was a midfield ever-present alongside Ruben Neves for much of his time at Molineux but will now move on to pastures new this summer.
Hobbs said: “Joao’s going to go down as one of the best players to ever pull on the old gold, in my opinion. He was an integral part of the team the entire time he was here. Our success over the last four or five years, he’s been instrumental in. So, he now departs with nothing but thanks from the football club.
“Everything he does is meticulous. He’s shown a lot of the younger players what you have to do to look after yourself and have a good career in the game. When he first came to the club, he was a big part of the culture change, because of his work ethic and how he managed himself before and after training. He definitely raised the levels and expectations amongst the players themselves.
“When he came in, we had a huge Portuguese contingent, and he was a hero to a lot of the guys for what he’d achieved in both club and international football. He just had that presence and people wanted to follow what he was he doing. We thank Joao for all he did at Wolves and wish him the best of luck for the future.”
Meanwhile, Traore made his 194th appearance at Arsenal and has now reached the end of the five-year contract he signed when joining from Middlesbrough during the same summer as Moutinho.
The Spaniard, whose most recent goal for the club against Tottenham Hotspur proved crucial to survival, is now able to speak to other clubs, but Hobbs holds a hope that his future could still be at Wolves, extending his time at Molineux further.
Hobbs said: “As the manager said in his press conferences recently, Adama is a player we’d like to keep and we’re still talking to him. He’s now out of contract, but it doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity to still come to an agreement, so conversations will be ongoing. He’s probably earned the right to understand what else is out there.
“He’s a great guy around the place, always happy and friendly, so on every level we’d like to keep him. Sometimes it’s not possible, but we’ll certainly be trying. We hope we can come to an agreement but let’s see what happens over the next few weeks.”
Costa’s arrival in Wolverhampton proved a success for the club. Signed to help the attacking department steer the club clear of relegation, he did exactly that, proving an influential figure on and off the pitch during his nine months in the West Midlands.
The 34-year-old, who played 25 times on his return to England, was back scoring in the Premier League during a crucial win over Brentford in April, and formed an impressive partnership with Matheus Cunha, which helped secure the club a sixth successful campaign in the top flight.
Hobbs said: “Diego came off the back of Sasa’s [Kalajdzic] injury and has been incredible whilst he’s been here, the way he’s bought into the club, the values and the culture. On the pitch, he’s shown that he still has a lot to offer and off the pitch he’s been an incredible teammate, especially for the young Brazilians like Joao [Gomes] and Matheus [Cunha] – he’s been a real asset for them.
“We’ve seen the relationship he’s had with the women’s team, where he was in the gym in the evenings and they came in and formed friendships, and he was very supportive of them. I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done over the season – he was a really important part of what we managed to achieve, staying in the Premier League.
“It feels the natural time to part ways because he was on a one-year contract. There was some internal conversations and we felt this was right. I’ve got no doubt that Diego will get another club off the back of his performances for sure. If a club calls me to ask about the person, he’ll get nothing but praise from me.”
Elsewhere, six members of the under-21s squad will depart Wolves during the summer, including Taylor Perry, who joined as a seven-year-old and Luke Matheson who signed for Wolves in January 2020, with fresh challenges hopefully awaiting all.
Hobbs said: “There are some good players in there, but we’re keen on keeping pathways clear for the younger players. We like to keep our average age young across the 18s and 21s, so some of these boys get to a stage where we have to make the decision for us, but also for them to start a career in men’s football.
“Jack Scott, for example, has already got a new club and there’s a lot of interest in all the boys. For us, it’s the right time for both sides, one so we can move 16 and 17-year-olds into the 21s and for them to start a career.
“The reality is, to reach our first-team is really tough, but there’s a lot of players who will have good careers and we think holding on to them for too long, and sending them on loans where they never really feel part of it, is not fair. It’s about finding the right time to say off you go, when they have options to get themselves going.”
Everyone at Wolves thanks all those players departing the club this summer for their effort and wish them the best of luck in the future.
The full list of out of contract players is as follows…
- Diego Costa
- Joao Moutinho
- Adama Traore
- Michael Agboola
- Lee Harkin
- Jack Hodnett
- Luke Matheson
- Taylor Perry
- Jack Scott