And whilst a section of the Old Gold faithful may be disappointed with what appears to be indecisiveness in failing to extend players’ contracts, Lage may well be a step or two ahead and could look to lean towards his youth – something that Wolves have been criticised for by Marcal.
The 33-year-old is set to leave the club at end of the season, and was a regular for Lage in the first half of this season. He had to contend with a groin injury that kept him out for 11 games and seemingly lost his place to Ait-Nouri.
Injury aside, his presence and versatility has been felt at Wolves, and in the two years he’s been at Molineux, he’s seen enough to form an opinion.
Speaking to Brazilian outlet IG, via Birmingham Mail, Marcal said:
“The season could certainly have gone better.
“I think we had a very good squad, we could easily have already qualified for European competitions, but I think the club’s strategy in the middle of the season of putting in slightly younger players to also being able to sell them ended up conditioning our performance in the race for European competitions.
“I ended up playing less games than expected due to the club’s strategy of selling young players. We generally fell short of expectations.”
Speaking of young players, a viable replacement for Marcal is already at the club and has featured 12 times, drumming up three goals and five assists to demonstrate his brilliance at the youthful age of 19 for the U23’s – that man is Hugo Bueno.
In the Premier League 2 semi-final play-off, Bueno staked his claim in Jamie Collins’ side, bagging Wolves’ goal in the 1-1 draw with Norwich. His attacking potency has been top-notch this season, so it comes as no surprise to see him score against the Canaries once again.
Lage has a more than viable option in Bueno, “who’s owning the left flank” in the words of the Athletic’s Tim Spiers, and should at the very least, be given a chance to prove himself over pre-season.