Wolves likely to face Doyle battle regardless

Wolves front man Kevin Doyle appears to be attracting the interest of a host of fellow top-flight clubs with Wolves manager Mick McCarthy even going as far as to concede the club may not be able to stop the Irishman leaving in the summer, even if they avoid the drop.

Doyle’s £6.5m move last summer to Wolves seemed sensible business at the time, for even though he, along with every other Reading player seemed to struggle in their second season in the top flight, his record of 19 league goals in two seasons represents a fine return in what was a small outfit and he’s a proven top flight performer.

The 26 year old striker’s main attributes are his pace, ability to play as a lone front man and his willingness to run the channels – all of which make him an interesting player to keep an eye for most of the clubs in the top flight.

McCarthy stated that “If we go down, we have no chance of holding on to him. If we stay up, we might still have a problem because there will be a few interested. We have seen all the teams now and I’ve not noticed many better players than him”. The team’s rumoured to be in the market for Doyle are Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham and Sunderland and you can see what he’d add to each of these sides.

Villa would love a player like Doyle, someone who’s able to take the pressure off Agbohnlahor, a player who always seems to suffer an end of season burn-out due to O’Neill’s over-reliance on the young striker. Everton too could do with a striker able to play a whole season without any niggly injury problems. With Zamora so evidently in need of a consistent partner, Doyle would be a fine replacement for the perma-crocked Andy Johnson and Sunderland are linked with just about everyone in this price range and with Kenwyne Jones unsettled and Frazier Campbell a flop, Steve Bruce could do a lot worse than Doyle.

The fees being bandied about at present range from between the £6.5m Wolves acquired Doyle for to £10m and a lot is largely down to whether Wolves stay up or not, if they don’t he’ll obviously be available at a much more deflated price, something Jez Moxey and the Wolves board will hope to avoid if they are forced to sell of their prized asset.

Doyle has manfully performed the not unenviable task of leading Wolves frontline this season, most of the time by himself. His performances against quality opposition, most notably in the win over Spurs at White Hart Lane and the draw with Liverpool at Molineux have caught the eye and his ability to slot seamlessly between playing with a partner or by himself is a decent attribute to have and he always occupies defenders with his movement and pace.

Compare his fortunes to that of Sylvain Ebanks Blake and you can see the true gulf in class between a Premiership striker and a Championship one. Although he’s only scored six goals in the league thus far, he’s hardly in the most creative team in the league with Wolves only scoring a pitiful 21 goals in 28 league games, three less than bottom club Portsmouth, so it becomes clear just how vital Doyle is to their plans. Should he leave Wolves in the summer he’ll leave a better player than the one that arrived and he should command a sizeable fee.

Written by James McManus