In the final piece in our series, Ben Husband talks about why January signing Benik Afobe should take home the Fancast Player of the Season Award.
When Kenny Jackett decided to splash the cash on Benik Afobe in January, the critics were instantly out:
“Why are we signing a player that has no Championship pedigree? Another one for the future, he’s scored some goals in League One, but he won’t be good enough for Wolves. Taking the cheap option again. Moxey out! Morgan Out!”
An actual quote off a local message board, frightening I know.
Fast forward four months and Wolves have unearthed the new Stevie Bull, a player with the finishing prowess of Ebanks Blake twinned with the pace of George Ndah. Ok, maybe a bit too far but you get the idea.
If his early season form at MK Dons raised his profile within the lower reaches of the English game; his post-Christmas form at Molineux will have surely pricked the ears up of everyone within the game, including a few from Arsenal who may be regretting their decision to let their 22 year old hotshot leave the club permanently.
Alas, Arsenal’s lost is undoubtedly Wolves’ gain, in 20 Championship appearances he has notched a staggering 13 goals and has assisted a further four, 17 goals in 20 is a reasonable start to his Wolves career.
Afobe has not only been tussling for Wolves’ top goal scorer crown, he has been involved in a much more impressive one on a national stage. For weeks, Harry Kane and himself were locked in a battle to be the country’s highest scorer, so as Kane’s goals have started to dry up, Benik’s startling consistency has seen him nudge ahead; arguably making him one of the most devastating forward players in the country.
Daryl Murphy looks set to win the division’s Golden Boot, but the Ipswich striker must be thanking his lucky stars that he has only had to compete with the Wolves man for four months.
As well as his goals he has added another dimension to Jackett’s charges, no longer are we side full of industry without a killer touch. We now possess questionably the best striker in the division.
He has also of course made a tantalising triumvirate with Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko, they have, almost instantly, developed the kind of relationship that makes any Wolves fans salivate at the prospect of a full season, if Sako decides to stay of course.
As well as the magic three, he has developed an almost telepathic understanding with Kevin ‘King of Through Balls’ Macdonald, another partnership which has given so much in our playoff push.
The recent fixture against Wigan was a perfect indication of what the striker has added; Wolves were pedestrian against the relegation threatened Latics, never really looking like they would break them down. However, halfway through the first half Benik pounced. One chance, one goal.
Wolves no longer have to huff and puff without final product; he has something which cannot be taught, a natural instinct for goal.
Now I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt the Molineux masses but at this point it is difficult to see how he won’t always score consistently. He is rarely a scorer of spectacular goals, Forest aside, but he is a spectacular scorer of goals and it is a difficult one to break.
If his early Wolves form has anything to go by it may be a fleeting relationship Molineux has with Afobe, he seems destined for the very heights of the game, but we should appreciate him whilst we can.
Wolves may fall of short of the playoffs but he has allowed us to dream and without Benik the season will have ended months ago.
He helped to transform the fortunes of Jackett’s men and for that he deserves to win the coveted Fancast Player of the Season.
VOTE BENIK! HE’S MAGIC YOU KNOWWWW
You can vote for Benik Afobe here