The England Under-21 international became the second new arrival at Molineux in the space of two days when he followed club-record signing Kevin Doyle through the doors at their Compton training ground on Wednesday.
Surman joined Saints as a schoolboy before steadily establishing himself as one of the most promising talents outside the top flight.
Yet the club's recent financial struggles have been well documented, with Saints' parent company going into administration back in April.
The south coast outfit will start next season in League One on minus 10 points, while the proposed takeover by the Pinnacle group has also fallen through leaving the club facing the possibility of extinction unless a deal can be thrashed out with another interested party.
A transfer fee for Surman believed to be in the region of £1.2million will definitely help, but Wanderers boss McCarthy insists he has not taken advantage of Southampton's plight.
"I'm delighted to get Andrew, I think we've got an exceptionally talented young player," he said.
"Someone has just asked me if we're benefiting from somebody else's problems. It might be seen that way and I would hate it if that was the case.
"I saw Andrew play three years ago in a friendly when I came here to Wolves, he was playing at Cheltenham for Southampton, and I marked him down then and we followed him and tracked him. Finally we've been able to sign him.
"I'm thrilled with it, he's a good player."
McCarthy continued: "I wasn't in a position to sign him three years ago, I would have had no chance three years ago when I came here. July 2006 - that would have been a non-starter.
"The really good scouts, which we've got, go out and mark players down, have a look back through their notes and remember what they've seen, and he's one that caught my eye.
"He caught everybody's eye as well."
Surman, who is predominantly a left-sided midfielder but can also play at left-back, has signed a three-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.
The 22-year-old becomes the fourth summer signing for the Premier League new boys after Doyle, Marcus Hahnemann and Nenad Milijas.
But the Wolves boss is not finished just yet.
And asked whether the club's fans can expect any more new arrivals before the squad fly out to Australia on Saturday for their pre-season tour, he replied: "We'll see, one way or another we'll find out.
"I'll keep trying, we've still got a few plates spinning, we'll see what happens."