With Michael Jacobs looking set to leave Wolves, Jake Sidhu assesses Kenny Jackett’s options on the wing.
As news filtered through that Wolves have accepted a bid from Wigan Athletic for winger Michael Jacobs, it has left many fans concerned about the lack of options on the left wing coming into the first game of the season. In last weeks Fancast debate, Johnny Russell, Sean Scannell and even Adam Le Fondre were suggested as possible candidates to replace Sako (although the latter is more comfortable playing as a striker and would primarily be used to compete with Dicko and Afobe), but now Jacobs looks to be on his way out, the matter becomes even more urgent.
Jackett might be tempted not to venture into the transfer market and push through one of the promising players from the development set up. Jordan Graham looks like he has a lot of potential, however, the Aston Villa Graduate has only featured for the Under 21’s and his last appearance for a senior team was Bradford City on 1st February 2014 (against Wolves, incidentally), so he looks to be a doubt for the starting XI. Similarly, Zeli Ismail who is now back to full fitness might have an opportunity to show why his was so really rated growing up. Another alternative from inside the club could be to play Van La Parra on the left wing, enabling Wolves to play both Van La Parra and James Henry in the same starting XI.
Were Wolves to look for someone to bring in, as well as Johnny Russel and Sean Scannell, Jesse Lingard would earn my vote if we had to loan out/buy a winger. He was one of the few players to come out with any credit for Endland under 21’s this summer but he has stated his intention to fight for a place at Manchester United.
Jackett may also try new formations in order to fit in new signings Conor Coady and Jed Wallace but no-one can underestimate the contribution Sako made to Wolves last season. When he left in January for the Africa Cup of Nations, Wolves did go unbeaten in January but struggled to win games – it took an injury time 30-yard screamer from the white Pelé (sorry, James Henry) to salvage a point at Bolton. Whether a more narrow formation will be utilised to compensate for losing Sako and to fit in our ever-growing collection of midfielder’s, only time will tell, but that certainly seems likely after Jackett experimented with a 4-3-2-1 formation during pre-season friendlies (to some success, truth be told).
With only two weeks until the opening game at Ewood Park, Jackett may make his intentions clear sooner rather than later. It might, after all, be the time that Razak Boukari finally overcomes his injury problems and gets so good that no-one will ever regret the loss of Sako. Ok, maybe that’s pushing it, but who knows? Maybe Jacobs decides to stay and battle for his place? Or maybe Jackett will sign one more player to fill in on the left?
What do you think Jackett should do? Let us know in the comments below.