While Wolverhampton Wanderers‘ most pressing issue of the summer was signing a new striker, there were also calls to bring in more defensive reinforcements.
Conor Coady, Romain Saiss and Willy Boly all left the club during the summer, with only Nathan Collins arriving at Molineux as a new centre-back option.
Wolves were linked with both Craig Dawson and free agent Jason Denayer but Bruno Lage seems set on his central defensive options, with Collins likely to partner Max Kilman for most of the season, while Toti and Yerson Mosquera are available as cover.
The Portuguese manager may have a long-term solution to the lack of depth at centre-back however, as Nigel Lonwijk continues to impress out on loan.
The 19-year-old defender joined Plymouth Argyle on loan for the season during the summer and has been a regular for the Pilgrims in League One so far this season, averaging a solid 6.81 rating from WhoScored for his performances in the third tier.
Since coming into the starting eleven, Plymouth have won their last four league fixtures, keeping three clean sheets, which emphasises the impact he is having in Steven Schumacher’s side.
Before he joined Plymouth, Lonwijk signed a new deal with Wolves to keep him at Molineux until 2025, having impressed with Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard last season.
Matt Jackson, Wolves’ strategic player marketing manager, said of Lonwijk:
“Nigel was excellent at Fortuna, and for young centre-backs, it’s very, very tough to get game time, but he did that last season and we now want him to experience English league football and progress through this pyramid.
“If he can be a successful centre-back in Eredivisie and in English football, and is able to combine the qualities that both leagues have, then Nigel will be a top player.”
In his time at Fortuna Sittard, Lonwijk became their youngest-ever scorer in the Eredivisie, so is already breaking records, and if he can continue to impress with Plymouth in League One, then perhaps Lage will consider him ready for Wolves’ first team in the not too distant future.