Wolves are in the market for attacking additions as the transfer window enters its final week, and the west Midlands outfit appear to be edging closer to making a striker splash, so our writers have been tasked with assessing its potential.
According to the Express & Star, former Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira is of key interest to Nuno Santo following a goal-laden run in the Greek Superleague for AEK Athens this season.
He will be a familiar figure to most at Molineux as the Portuguese frontman has played in English football before, most notably for Norwich City. He scored when the two teams met in the Championship back in February 2018.
Oliveira is also a client of super-agent Jorge Mendes, but would he be a good option for Wolves this season? They still have a top-six and Europa League ambitions to contend for, with Raul Jimenez their only fit senior option upfront.
Here’s what some of Football FanCast’s finest think…
“Nelson Oliveira’s record may not have been great in the Championship, netting 31 in just 103 outings, but Wolves could do far worse than the 28-year-old. Raul Jimenez had a colossal 2019, barely missing a game for Wolves and also playing in the Gold Cup for Mexico. A similar year in 2020 would surely be detrimental so bringing in someone to play second fiddle makes sense. Oliveira has experience of English football and it was only at Reading last season that he truly flopped.
“He came close to double figures in three consecutive seasons with Nottingham Forest and Norwich – which is all Wolves would really need this month. Nuno likes to operate with a small squad so it seems far-fetched to suggest he’d spend big on a forward. However, bringing in someone like this begs the question, why did they sell Ivan Cavaleiro to Fulham? The forward has 12 goal contributions this season, more than Oliveira managed in a single season during his time in the second tier. Although he’d be a shrewd acquisition, he is no better than Cavaleiro.”
“There is no evidence that Oliveira is good enough to be playing in the Premier League, even if that is just as a backup option. In addition to his stats from previous seasons, while he has nine goals in 14 league starts for AEK Athens this campaign, there should be concerns that he has failed to score in any of his four appearances in the Europa League. At 28 years old, there is also not that much scope for the frontman to grow as a player. This would be a poor move from Wolves, who should be looking for somebody younger and on an upward trajectory, who can take the opportunity to learn from Jimenez, while also offering backup to the Mexico international.”
“Wolves are in a real catch-22 situation when it comes to signing a back-up to Raul Jimenez, and it is similar to the issue Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur face when trying to find an alternative to Harry Kane.
“Jimenez is going to be starting matches for Wolves pretty much as long as he’s with the club given how good he has been up top for them – he has scored 36 goals in 80 games for the club – and that means that any centre-forward arriving at Molineux will know the challenge they face to break into the starting XI and not to simply be a back-up.
“That instantly reduces the quality of striker the west Midlands-based outfit are able to target, meaning someone like Nelson Oliveira is a viable but underwhelming target given he has only scored 31 goals in 103 Championship appearances previously.
“Some may suggest that Nuno Santo looks for a player younger than the 28-year-old to compete with Jimenez, but to be fair should the Mexico international get injured, at least they would have someone relatively experienced to fill in for him.”
“I think this is the only type of player who could add depth behind Raul Jimenez. The Mexican is unquestionably the main man at Molineux and his place in Nuno’s starting XI is as good as set in stone, so anyone who comes in to provide depth needs to be happy with playing second fiddle – that means someone who isn’t an absolute world-beater.
“In Nelson Oliviera’s case, he is far from being that, which is why this move might actually be a good one despite the striker’s struggles in the Championship with Norwich, Reading, Nottingham Forest and Swansea – the 28-year-old netted just 33 goals in 120 games for those four clubs combined.
“Additionally, with Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Diogo Jota and many more Portuguese players roaming around this part of the Midlands, Oliviera should have no trouble settling in under a manager who is also of Portuguese descent – this would be a shrewd move, without a doubt.”