Wolves have impressed on the pitch once again this season but their transfer business also deserves praise, with Nuno Espirito Santo appearing to take a new direction by signing young players.
Max Kilman, Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordao all arrived in the summer and have each been given minutes on the pitch to varying degrees, which shows that the strategy is working.
Luke Matheson became the latest youngster to sign when he joined on deadline day in January, before being loaned back to Rochdale, for whom he has already made 36 appearances for despite being 17.
That shows his potential, and given Nuno’s track record it may only be a matter of time until be begins to realise that at Molineux.
He faces difficulty due to the presence of Matt Doherty, but he should use the Irishman as an incredibly positive influence as he could learn a great deal from the 28-year-old.
Kilman’s jump from non-league to the Premier League shows anything is possible under Nuno, so we asked our writers to assess whether Matheson could break into the first-team next season, while it is also possible that he will be loaned out once more.
“The short and simple answer is yes, I can very much see Luke Matheson breaking into the first-team fold at Wolves next season. Matt Doherty is a divisive figure amongst fans yet has regularly found the net, scoring seven times in all competitions, but that doesn’t make up for his defensive frailty – averaging 1.4 tackles and 1.2 interceptions isn’t great for a full-back whilst he loses possession 1.4 times a game too.
“The 17-year-old is arguably a generational talent and is likely to sit behind the Irishman for the time being, and whilst mentoring him to fit Nuno’s system, he should be looking over his shoulders, too, as that position is by no means guaranteed come next season. There’s a real chance that Matheson will be battling Doherty for that starting berth.”
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“Quite clearly, Matheson has talent – he didn’t look out of place against Manchester United for Rochdale, and he even scored – but it is far too soon to be talking about him as a potential starter for Wolves, especially with Matt Doherty in front of him.
“The Republic of Ireland international has been in stunning form this term, and even from a defensive position he has plenty of goal threat – he has seven goals to his name already this campaign. Matheson may be the future, but he is not the here and now – sending him on loan and letting him develop is the best possible option.”
“I think all you can do in this situation is wait and see.
“Matheson hasn’t even taken part in his first training session at Wolves yet having been loaned straight back to Rochdale, and with all due respect to the League One outfit, it’s hard to really tell if someone will make it in the Premier League when they’re playing at that standard.
“All I can say is that Wolves have a manager they can trust to make the right call. Nuno has never been shy to test young talent and if Matheson shows himself to be good enough in training, he’ll get a shot.”
“There is every chance that Matheson will get his chance to shine at Molineux next season, particularly if Wolves are once again competing in Europe.
“The youngster has already got a taste for life in the Premier League by coming up against Manchester United and Newcastle this season, and he looked assured in both matches as his side took the Red Devils to penalties and also drew with Newcastle.
“Starting him regularly would perhaps be placing too much responsibility on his young shoulders but he is likely to play some kind of role rather than being loaned out, as at this stage of his development being involved in an environment full of quality players is likely to have a positive influence on his progression.”
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