With Bruno Lage’s arrival at Wolves comes the need to spend shrewdly in the transfer window.
The Old Gold head into the current market with limited finances, needing to sell players before they can go out and splash the cash.
It’s not the most ideal of starts to Lage’s tenure but, crucially, he knows how to bring young players through the ranks. It was the Portuguese coach who gave Ruben Dias the limelight at Benfica before unleashing a certain Joao Felix on the world as well.
While Dias has won the Premier League with Manchester City, Felix has made the biggest stir throughout world football. At the age of just 19, he signed for Atletico Madrid in a deal worth a jaw-dropping £113m. He has thrived since departing Lage’s clutches, winning La Liga with the Spanish club.
This bodes well for the younger players coming through at Wolves, particularly Theo Corbeanu.
They are currently locked in negotiations with Adama Traore to extend his contract but the Spaniard hasn’t been forthcoming in terms of an agreement. It’s believed the situation has moved on from a position of deadlock but he could still depart if Lage requires the cash to rebuild.
That being said, if European Championship-bound Traore does leave Molineux, they should look towards their academy to replace him.
Corbeanu is the name to watch out for; he’s a player who possesses similar traits to their swashbuckling forward, beating players for pace and trickery.
The Canadian has had to wait patiently for first team opportunities but was finally handed a chance in the later stages of the 2020/21 campaign. The 19-year-old came off the bench during the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham but only had eight minutes to try and make an impact.
However, Corbeanu has shown glimpses of his quality for the under-23s, form which proves he should be given a look-in by Lage next term. He scored seven goals in Premier League 2, frightening defences to death with his dazzling dribbling ability.
Speaking earlier in the 2020/21 season, Wolves under-23 boss James Collins was overjoyed by his qualities, saying: “He’s athletic, tall, can head it, can defend, can dribble past people and score, he can shoot, he can pass, he’s both footed, he’s got a bit of everything.”
Collins added: “Theo can be anything he wants to be. He’s an outstanding prospect.”
Wolves may well look to replace Traore from an external source but they’d be foolish to ignore their internal options. Lage has a proven track record of developing some of the finest talent to come out of Portugal in the last few years; he must now use the same philosophy in the Midlands.
Corbeanu is a rare breed; he now has to harness his supreme attributes at a higher level.