With the January transfer window open for business, Luke Regan shares the five players he thinks Wolves could bring in this month to bolster their promotion push.
As we settle into January and the transfer window fully opened, it’s the perfect time to dream, guess wildly and speculate on the transfer targets which will turn the Jackett Revival into the Jackett Renaissance and allow Wolves to push on for Wembley.
Wolves appear to be lacking in a couple of areas, and while the first XI is relatively strong, there have been doubts cast my Fancast pundits, myself included, have questioned the strength of the bench. Tthese signings would either fit straight in and replace their position’s incumbents or push them from the bench. I will assume that the Wolves board will continue the habit.
Here are five players which Wolves could bring in this month.
The Number Ten Wolves have been crying out for this season, a mixture of current AMC David Edwards and Michael Jacobs. Armstrong’s is the one of a number of exciting youngsters off the Dundee United Academy production line, which has in turn produced Sporting Lisbon and Scotland U21 international Ryan Gauld.
While Edwards possesses a work rate similar to that of an eighteenth century cotton mill worker with a particularly grumpy line manager, he does however lack the skills and flare that Jacobs and his other midfield compatriots have shown at Wolves. This is not such a problem for Armstrong, who has shown himself to be hardworking, but also creative with the ability to drive with the ball and also show an eye for grabbing a goal himself.
At just shy of his twenty third birthday, the Scotland U21 international has made over 100 SPL appearances and has earned a call up to the Scottish national senior squad but has yet to make his full international debut. This experience would serve him well, in adapting to life in England. However a mooted interest from Celtic and possible European football with United may prove a stumbling block should any bid be made.
Armstrong would likely Cost Wolves at around £1.5m all in, but this talented and ambitious young midfielder would be a perfect foil for Wolves number 10 problems.
A winger in the Bakary Sako mould; direct, creative and goal scoring, Gary Mackay-Steven is another Dundee United player who Wolves could do worse than to look at signing. Primarily a left winger but with the ability to play on both sides, he spends his time on the right, cutting inside on to his stronger foot, Mackay is known for his ability to try and successfully pull off the unlikely and damn near impossible, so much so that his exploits have been lighting up YouTube for some time now (yes, I do remember Stefan Mairhoffer).
GMS possesses decent if not groundbreaking pace and tends to pick up more of his goals inside the box than Sako, he has exceptional close control and is able to pull of all the tricks we try and fail to on Fifa’s 5 star list!
GMS is 24 and holds a full international cap for Scotland as well as numerous youth caps. Like Armstrong he has over 100 SPL appearances to his name and experience in England, even if only at youth level.
A player with his skills and ability to pull of the unexpected would provide able cover and much needed completion for Sako’s left wing spot, during and upon his return from African Cup of Nations duty with Mali. GMS would come in for between a £1m and £1.5m, and the former Liverpool and Fulham Youngster could be a snip if his undoubted talent continues to grow.
Wilson, one of the brightest prospects at Manchester United is exactly the sort of striker Wolves are looking for after past failed loans. While he is young and still very much a rough diamond, he possesses pace, a natural finishing ability and experience of playing with some of the most talented players currently plying their trade in English football.
The England youth international memorably opened his Manchester united account with 2 goals on his debut against Hull City last year, in Ryan Giggs’ first game and his short spell as caretaker manager. He has gone on to make starts under LVG. However these will now be tempered due to the plethora of attacking talent the Dutchmen has available to him. It would also do Wilson good to get a consistent run of games, be those from the bench or even regular starts should Dicko succumb to his hamstring problems again.
There would be little to no chance of Wilson joining Wolves on a permanent deal, however we would most likely be available on loan. We could even pitch that he’s a Staffordshire lad and that he its not to far to go home for a roast on a Sunday, every little helps guys!
The curly haired palace striker has enjoyed a somewhat meteoric rise through the various levels of the English footballing pyramid. Having started his football career at Arsenal’s academy, Gayle dropped down to 9th tier of the pyramid, playing for two seasons at Stanstead, where during the 2010-2011 season he flew to an undoubtedly impressive 57 goals, yes, I did make that joke. He has since made moves to Dagenham and Redbridge, Peterborough and to his current employers Crystal Palace. Gayle has somewhat struggled to establish himself at Selhurst Park, however he has suffered from playing under four managers during his time there. Originally signed to play for Ian Holloway, he has since played for Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock and now Palace’s new boss, Alan Pardew.
Gayle, a hardworking, energetic and pacey striker never really fit Pulis’ style of football, due to his noted preference for a more prominent physical threat would be ideal competition for Nouha Dicko. His pace and eye for goal have combined to give him a career goal ratio of 0.46 goals per league game, in his previous half season in the Championship he scored 6 goals in 20 games for a relegated Peterborough side and has scored 9 goals for Palace in the Premier league in 36 appearances, it is to be noted however that 23 of those have been from the bench.
Gayle’s contract is reportedly around the £18k a week mark and with potential transfer fees around the £4m mark, it would be likely that should Wolves be able to acquire him, it would be on loan, possibly with a view to a permanent deal. His availability may however change dependent on Pardew’s playing philosophy at Palace and his future team sheets.
The one that got away. Harry Maguire chose to make the move to Hull City last summer with the hope of making his Premier league dreams come true, after Wolves couldn’t seal the deal with United. The former blade could be ruing this decision, he has been limited to a measly two league substitute appearances being kept down the pecking order by Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson amongst others.
The Sheffield born centre half possesses all the tools to become a top quality defender, naturally aggressive and brave, he is comfortable on the ball and heads & tackles well. Harry was a noted leader and captain for united and played over 125 games for the club before his transfer to the tigers, yet for all this experience, he is still only 21 years of age.
While some Wolves fans will no doubt hold his decision to move to the Tigers against him, a move to the Black Country would suit both him and Wolves well. Maguire would gain valuable experience by playing regularly at a higher level than he has played at before, while Wolves would have a ready made centre half which would allow Hause and Iorfa to continue there development on the flanks.
Wages could be approx £10k a week.
So there it is, the five players I think would ensure Wolves at least a play off place and a chance to compete for promotion via Wembley. While it is unlikely Wolves would pick up five players in one window, should two or the three of the above come in, Wolves would be in an incredibly strong position come Feb.