This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
To say Wolves started the transfer window slowly would be an understatement but all of a sudden, they’ve burst into life just as their Europa League campaign has commenced.
Nuno Santo’s side started proceedings with a 2-0 win over Crusaders on Thursday night but that wasn’t before they were linked with a pedigreed defender.
Express & Star made claims before the game that they were set to sign Real Madrid’s Jesus Vallejo on loan, a player that would bolster their defensive ranks significantly.
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Wolves have made a habit of bringing in players on loan in recent windows. Of course, they signed Raul Jimenez on a temporary deal before he signed permanently whilst players like Leander Dendoncker, Jonny and Ruben Vinagre benefited from loan stays at first.
It seems to be a clear tactic from the Wolves hierarchy and so far it’s paid dividends.
Vallejo, therefore, would fit the model they’re trying to build but it’s a particular aspect of his play that would make him fit in perfectly.
It’s unlikely that Nuno will drop either Willy Boly or Conor Coady next term but there could be a gap opening in Ryan Bennett’s position at right centre back, a role he occasionally sacrificed for Romain Saiss in 2018/19.
But the reason he’d be perfectly suited for that position is because of his reading of the game, something that could enable him to cut out balls in behind the right wing-back down the channels on a regular basis.
The Spaniard only played five times in La Liga last season which meant his interception tally stood at just 1.4 per 90 minutes.
Check out the reaction to Wolves’ first European game since the ’80s in the video below…
However, if we assess the impact he’s had when playing more regular football, his ability to intercept the play is recognisable.
During a loan spell with Frankfurt where he featured 25 times, he made a massive 2.8 interceptions per game as he appeared to take on greater defensive responsibility.
That characteristic is something he’ll need to bring to the table if and when he does sign for Wolves.
Last term, Bennett averaged 1.3 interceptions per match so the difference between when he and Vallejo play regularly is quite large.
As a result, the 22-year-old could become vital for the Midlands outfit next season.