New Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Julen Lopetegui will no doubt be using this upcoming halt to proceedings to plot ways to spark a much-needed improvement among the current squad, with a particular issue for the former Sevilla manager set to be the Midlands side’s shortcomings in attack.
The Molineux outfit currently rank bottom in the Premier League with regards to goals scored, having registered a measly tally of just eight goals in 15 top-flight games, having again fired a blank in the clash with league leaders Arsenal last time out.
One notable issue that defeat exposed is the lack of a reliable centre-forward presence, with summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic currently out with an ACL issue, while fellow new recruit Diego Costa has also been suspended in recent weeks, with the former Spain international yet to score for his new club since his free transfer arrival.
Arguably the biggest loss has been that of Raul Jimenez, with the 31-year-old – who suffered a potentially life-threatening blow to the head just two years ago – having been hampered by injury in the early months of the season.
Despite that lack of action, the former Benfica man has still been included in Mexico’s squad for the upcoming World Cup, with Lopetegui having noted his desire for the striker to skip the tournament in order to get fully fit.
The fear will be that the imposing marksman – who has 55 goals in 150 games for the club to date – could aggravate any issue were he to feature in Qatar, with that potentially set to have an adverse effect on Wolves if he is not able to take to the field in the New Year.
There are equally more general concerns about the 96-cap gem’s form as he netted just six times in the league last season, with it yet to be seen if the £41k-per-week star can recapture his previous, prolific streak, having scored 30 goals across his first two league campaigns in England.
In need of a perhaps more long-term solution to Wolves’ current attacking woes, Lopetegui could well be better served turning to young Chem Campbell to lead the attack, with the Welshman having already been handed brief chances to impress in the season so far.
The highly-rated 19-year-old has already made five Premier League appearances off the bench this season, joining the likes of Hugo Bueno and Joe Hodge to have been promoted from the academy ranks in recent times.
While the exciting talent has largely operated on the left flank this season, he also has the capability to feature through the middle, with it hard to argue with the Birmingham-born starlet’s goalscoring record having netted nine goals and registered nine assists at Premier League 2 level last season.
Campbell – who journalist Josh Bunting described as being “always on the move” – could well potentially be deployed as part of a more fluid attacking lineup in Lopetegui’s side, with the 56-year-old notably stating in his recent press conference that “sometimes you can play without a striker and you can score goals.”
Having been described as a “cut above” by journalist Liam Keen after featuring for the club’s U21 side in the Papa John’s Trophy this season, the teenager is seemingly deserving of a more prominent role in the first team.
Not only would it potentially save Wolves from having to buy a new forward addition in January, but it could also see Lopetegui find the club’s long-term heir to Jimenez in attack, if Campbell can go on to sparkle in the senior set-up.