With the future of Wolverhampton Wanderers centre-back Connor Coady looking increasingly uncertain as the January transfer window draws closer, the Molineux faithful would be forgiven if they are starting to worry about losing their services of a player who is undoubtedly Wolves’ most influential defender.
Indeed, the 28-year-old has been a highly important part of the club’s impressive rise from the Championship back to the Premier League, making a total of 287 appearances in all competitions for Wolves, as well as being appointed club captain.
However, with reports suggesting that Newcastle United are targeting the England international in the winter market, a move which – one would assume – would see the defender handed a rather significant pay rise on his current £62k-per-week salary, the chances of Bruno Lage finding himself without the £22.5m-rated man for the second half of the campaign would seem to be rather high.
Although, while it would undoubtedly come as a major blow to lose Coady this January, the 45-year-old Wolves boss may already possess a ready-made replacement for the 28-year-old in his first-team squad – in the shape of Max Kilman.
Indeed, the 24-year-old has highly impressed over his 10 Premier League appearances so far this season, helping his side keep two clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.4 interceptions, 2.1 tackles, 3.8 clearances and winning five duels per game.
The £4.05m-rated man has also chipped in going forwards, scoring one goal, in addition to taking an average of 0.6 shots and making 0.2 key passes per fixture.
These returns have the player who commentator Arlo White dubbed an “authoritative” figure average a SofaScore match rating of 6.98, ranking him as Wolves’ best defender in the top flight – and fifth-best performer overall.
As such, should the £14k-per-week Kilman be able to maintain this level of performance over what remains of the current campaign, while Lage may have to bring in another centre-back in order to make up the numbers at the back, the 24-year-old could well be the man who the Portuguese manager builds his defence around.