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Wolves: Lopetegui can replace Traore with Lemina

Wolverhampton Wanderers have been linked with OGC Nice midfielder Mario Lemina recently and the Gabon international could be the ideal man to replace Boubacar Traore during his spell on the sidelines.

It was suggested recently that the Old Gold had bid €5.5m (£5m) for the 29-year-old after seeing their first bid rejected, with Julen Lopetegui no doubt keen to add some more depth in his midfield during this month’s transfer window.

The Spanish manager has just Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes available as senior options in his squad, with the on-loan Traore set to spend at least a month on the sidelines, which could spur Wolves into action in the transfer window.

Loeptegeui said: “We have an injury with Bouba for, I think, one or two months. It’s very bad news for us. We only have four midfielders now in the squad. We have to have more.”

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Bruno Lage on the touchline for Wolves.

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The Malian midfielder represented a more defensive-minded option for the former Sevilla manager in his midfield, with Neves and Moutinho best-known for their deep-lying playmaking abilities, while Nunes is seen as more of a box-to-box player.

With Leander Dendoncker having also departed in the summer, it is no surprise that Lopetegui is in the market for a more defensively sound midfield option such as Lemina.

According to FBref, the former Southampton man scores in the top 10% of midfielders across Europe for tackles, blocks and interceptions per 90, which emphasises what he could add at Molineux.

Before his arrival in England, Traore was described as a “pressing and dribbling machine” by analyst Liam Henshaw and considering Lemina scores in the 86th percentile for dribbles, he looks to be the ideal man to fill in while the loan star is unavailable.

The Gabonese star has shown he can cut it in the Premier League with previous spells at Fulham and Southampton, with former Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl full of praise for his “unbelievable effort” in 2021.

Lopetegui clearly needs a new midfield recruit and considering Lemina’s experience and likely low asking price, he could be the ideal option for the Old Gold this month.