When Raul Jimenez was stretchered off against Arsenal with a fractured skull, you didn’t necessarily fear the worst for this Wolves attack.
After all, it’s one that possesses the effervescent figures of Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, one that can lay claim to the vibrant Adama Traore. In the grand scheme of things, Wolves shouldn’t have problems in the final third.
Add their record signing in Fabio Silva to the equation and things should be rosy at Molineux. Unfortunately, they are not.
Despite beating Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, they have suffered disappointing losses to both Aston Villa and Burnley. It seems that when the Midlanders take on claret and blue, they forget how to play.
Silva notched his first Premier League goal from the penalty spot against Sean Dyche’s men but it spoke volumes that a man signed for £35.6m wasn’t entrusted to start.
Instead, they relied on Owen Otasowie in forward areas, someone who traditionally plays as a holding midfielder. It was a bizarre decision and despite showing promising signs, it clearly didn’t pay off.
Thus, you have to look at the decision making in the summer from both Nuno and Jeff Shi. Evidently, paying such a large sum of money for Silva was not a great idea in the short-term, but in hindsight, they shouldn’t have got rid of Patrick Cutrone.
The Italian, who is now valued at £14m via Transfermarkt, didn’t exactly have the greatest of first seasons at Molineux but he is still a presence in attack, one that had a decent track record in 2019/20.
Last term, Cutrone netted three times for Wolves – more than Silva has – before he lost trust with Nuno and departed for Fiorentina on loan in January. He contributed to six goals in 19 Serie A outings before staying on for the 2020/21 season.
The Italy international is still technically on Wolves’ books and is having another turgid campaign, failing to start for Fiorentina. Therefore, we wonder how much use he could have been to the manager, especially at a time when their only senior striker in Jimenez is out injured.
Yes, the relationship between player and head coach is fragile but he wasn’t a disastrous signing for the Midlanders. After all, Conor Coady rated him highly.
Speaking about Cutrone in December 2019 after a match with West Ham, the skipper said: “His finish was brilliant but it’s not just that – he works so hard for the team. He’s like Raul – he works his socks off and he brings so much to the team, so it’s brilliant that we had him to come on.”
One quote stands out there; “like Raul.” How Wolves could do with someone of that presence now.