Wolves singing Jorge Mendes ace Rafael Leao would help with Jimenez workload

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manha, Wolves are just one of the clubs chasing Lille ace Rafael Leao this summer as manager Nuno Espirito Santo looks to strengthen his side ahead of their upcoming European journey.

What’s the word?

Wolves are yet to make any substantial moves in the transfer market having only made two loan deals permanent – with the £30m club-record signing of Raul Jimenez and Leander Dedoncker staying at Molineux.

The club finished seventh in the league last season, their highest-ever finish in the Premier League era which also meant they qualified for the Europa League for the first time in nearly 40 years.

As they look to embark on another historic season, additions are required even if it is purely for squad depth reasons. The reported link to Leao would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Less reliance on Wolves’ only striker

Wolves were too reliant on Jimenez last season with him being their only senior out-and-out striking option aside from Leo Bonatini, who joined Nottingham Forest on loan in January.

Their number nine bagged 13 goals and seven assists in 38 Premier League appearances. Versatile forward Diogo Jota often partnered him up top in a 3-5-2 formation even though he has been a left-sided winger most of his career – he added nine goals and five assists himself meaning the duo formed a formidable partnership up top.

But what would Santo do if either of them were unlucky enough to pick up an injury or a suspension? They will face even more of a hectic schedule now they are in a European competition – their Europa League campaign actually begins this week, less than three weeks before the start of the Premier League season.

Wolves can do little wrong in adding another highly-rated striker with Leao a potential option. He was once dubbed the ‘Portuguese Mbappe‘ and has also been regarded as the best youth prospect to leave the Sporting CP academy in their history by his former mentor Tiago Fernandes – which is impressive considering Cristiano Ronaldo came from those very ranks.

The 20-year-old starred for Lille last season, though you wouldn’t have realised as Nicolas Pepe took most of the spotlight. Leao scored eight goals in just 16 starts, whilst laying on a trio of assists too, so the young star is clearly capable of lessening the burden on Jimenez’s shoulders.

Leao should fit right in at the west Midlands club seeing as you could easily be forgiven for thinking it’s a Primeira Liga side at times with the array of Portuguese talent at their disposal. The Portugal Under-21 international would become the eighth player from Spain’s neighbour to pull on the gold and black shirt making the transition to English football all that smoother.

He’s also just been signed up as one of agent Jorge Mendes’ new clients which can only be good news for fans at Molineux as he also manages their boss Santo – as well as the club’s owners having a share in his agency firm. The 53-year-old has reportedly influenced a number of signings at the club in the past.

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