The summer transfer window remains open until 23:00 on the 31st August. 10 weeks into the window and Wolves have so far signed Jose Sa, Yerson Mosquera, Francisco Trincao and also signed Rayan Ait-Nouri on a permanent deal. However, it is clear that the squad needs strengthening with just 2 weeks remaining and the season already underway, Dan Wallis looks at where Wolves need to prioritise before the window shuts.
A position which has needed strengthening for a few seasons now is centre back. The club has continued to operate with Coady, Boly and Saiss since promotion to the Premier League. It was said that Leander Dendoncker was originally signed to play the right centre back role but he has prominently played in midfield. Although he slotted in defence, he has never made the role his own. Prior to Wolves playing in the Europa League, they did sign Jesus Vallejo from Real Madrid on loan, however he failed to impress, and his loan spell came to an early end. Yerson Mosquera has already signed, and Kilman continues to perform well however they are both still fairly inexperienced.
If Lage wants to play a back 4 four, Coady and Saiss aren’t good enough from what we saw of them in a back four last season. Some may even say the same about Boly, despite him being Wolves most experience defender. Wolves have most recently been linked with Nikola Milenkovic of Fiorentina and Takehiro Tomiyasu of Bologna. Both of these players would be perfect for the starting eleven and would slot straight in as well as providing more competition for the existing players. It seems that Lage doesn’t trust his current options hence playing a back 5 when he may prefer to go with a 4. This would allow for an extra player in midfield or attack.
Another position in which Wolves still need to strengthen is central midfield. Current options are Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker is simply not enough over a 38 game season. Lage himself has said that these players are very similar in style and while others such as Gibbs-White can also play this position, or a new player would be more favourable. What type of player though? Neves is much better when he is further up the pitch and has more freedom so someone who stays back and does the more defensive dirty work would be the ideal partner. Palhinha and Amadou Diawara are players who have been linked and would be solid signings to accompany the wonderkid from Porto.
Wolves chose not to sign Vitinha, unless things change in the final weeks, while Owen Otasowie has been linked with a move away. Bruno Jordao is set to be given until January to prove himself before potentially heading out on loan. This position is all the more important with Joao not getting any younger and possibly finding Lage’s tactics demanding. Wolves last had a player of this mould in Alfred N’diaye while in the championship but ultimately opting against signing him permanently upon promotion.
Although central midfield and central defence are more of a priority at this point in time, an additional striker would also be welcomed. Last Season, Wolves started the campaign with Raul and Fabio, however the unfortunate injury to Jimenez meant that the young Fabio Silva was left as the striker until Willian Jose signed on loan in January. Jeff’s starboy performed well but his inexperience and young age could be seen hence the signing of Jose in January. The new striker failed to impress, another player who has flopped in recent times although he did take the load off young Fabio.
If either Fabio or Raul were to het injured, this leaves only one senior striker so in the same position as last season. Rafa Mir is still at Wolves so he could be the one to provide competition, his move to Atletico Madrid appears to have cooled. The Spanish striker took La Liga by storm and was called up to Spain’s Olympics squad for Tokyo. This position is even more important if Lage decides to play two up top like he did at Benfica although players like MGW would be able to play in a Felix style if needs be.
Those are the three positions need the most attention. I would preferable sign two centre midfielders though. How many players do you think Wolves need? Where would you strengthen? And who would you sign?