Wolverhampton Wanderers have been found wanting in front of goal in recent times, having scored just three goals in their opening seven Premier League games of the season, failing to provide that much-needed cutting edge in the final third.
The Midlands side had scored at a rate of just one goal per game last season, while netting at a rate of just 0.95 goals per game the year prior, with that record a significant drop off from the 2019/20 campaign, in which the Old Gold scored 51 goals in their 38 top-flight games, at a rate of 1.34 goals per match.
A notable factor in that difference could well have been the loss of current Liverpool star Diogo Jota in the summer of 2020, with the Portuguese star having proven a real lethal presence in front of goal prior to his departure, scoring 16 goals in all competitions during that 19/20 season, including seven in the league.
Operating off the central focal point of Raul Jimenez, the dynamic forward dazzled with his creative flair and cold-blood nature in front of goal, providing 44 goals and 19 assists in 131 games during his time at Molineux after arriving from Atletico Madrid on an initial loan deal in 2017.
The 25-year-old’s departure to Anfield on a £41m deal just over two years ago has clearly left a void in the Wolves side that is yet to be filled, with the club forced to watch him shine under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage, with 34 goals in just 88 games for the Merseysiders to date.
While replacing the 29-cap gem has proven difficult thus far, current boss Bruno Lage could well have a perfect heir in his ranks in the form of teenager Lee Harkin, with the 19-year-old currently starring at youth level.
The diminutive gem has scored eight goals in just 32 games at U21 level to date, having previously netted seven goals and provided five assists in 30 games at U18 level, proving himself a real threat with his ability to feature all across the frontline – much like Jota.
“Lee Harkin scoring for Wolves Academy against Stockport County tonight, really rate him, for such a young player not only is he clinical but he’s also intelligent with his movement. Very smart at opening up the space to get shots away, can adapt all across the front positions.”
That glowing assessment no doubt showcases the youngster’s similarities to that man Jota, with the latter star having also been praised for his “understanding and intelligence” by pundit Noel Whelan earlier this year.
While Harkin is still waiting for his first team bow, the signs are that he could well prove to be the successor to the former Molineux hero, if handed a chance by Lage.