There was understandable excitement amongst the Wolves fanbase when their club paid just £1m to sign Rochdale sensation Luke Matheson in January 2020 but nearly three years on and it seems unlikely that he will ever feature for the first team.
Jeff Shi sanctioned a move for the 17-year-old who had broken into Rochdale’s first team in League One and made the headlines when he scored the equalising goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
When he made his debut as a 15-year-old, winning the man-of-the-match award against local rivals Bury, former Dale boss Keith Hill was full of praise for Matheson.
He said: “Luke Matheson – wow. He was outstanding. We know what he can do. It’s not a leap of faith, because we know what he can do.”
After signing in January 2020, Matheson returned to Rochdale on loan, and made 36 appearances in total for the Greater Manchester side, contributing two goals and two assists.
While it was unlikely that the teenage defender would break into Wolves’ side straight away, his loan spells since then have been largely disappointing, as he struggled for game time with Ipswich and Hamilton Academical before being reunited with Hill at Scunthorpe United last season.
There, he would make 13 appearances in League Two, averaging a very disappointing 6.24 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
Considering he played in League One as a 16-year-old, it is concerning that he is struggling in the league below nearly three years on. The youngster will turn 20 next month and on current form, it is difficult to see him ever being good enough to feature for Wolves’ first team.
While it is a shame that he is yet to realise his potential at Molineux, it was always going to be a gamble to sign a player so young, and in this case, it seems as if it has sadly not paid off for Jeff Shi.