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Wolves can ditch Moutinho for McKennie

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui got off to the perfect league start with a 2-1 victory over Everton on Boxing Day, however, there will be tougher matches ahead.

The win marked the club’s first three points since October and the Spaniard will be hoping this can be a catalyst for a markedly improved 2023 under his leadership.

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The January transfer window is looming into view and with Lopetegui still assessing his squad, there could be plenty of ins and outs during the month.

Joao Moutinho hasn’t quite lived up to his high standards this season and with Wolves having reportedly been offered American Weston McKennie, it might be time for the club to ditch the Portuguese midfielder.

Lopetegui must ditch Moutinho

This season, the 36-year-old veteran has seen his influence wane in the starting XI. He has played 14 Premier League matches so far this term and registered just one goal contribution, taking an average of 55.8 touches, and having a pass success rate of 85%.

These numbers may sound impressive enough, but compared to last season, where he averaged 68.5 touches and a pass success rate of 87%, there is a noticeable drop-off.

Serie A side Juventus are interested in signing Rayan Ait-Nouri and have offered McKennie as part of the deal according to reports in Italy and the American would make a good signing.

The 24-year-old has struggled for game time this season, starting just nine times, however, he has achieved a solid enough Sofascore rating of 6.84/10 for his performances.

He has double the amount of goal contributions than Moutinho while creating three big chances and making 0.6 key passes per match.

Defensively, the £55k-per-week star has made 0.6 tackles, 0.5 interceptions and 0.8 clearances on average per match and his versatility could be another bonus for Lopetegui, as the player can also operate in a centre-back role if required.

His former sporting director at Schalke, Christian Heidel claimed four years ago that McKennie could be destined for big things, saying: “Weston is a very good footballer, but he also has a lot of traits that are very, very important to Schalke. The fans love the way he plays, and the work he puts in. His body language is extraordinary.”

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He may not have lived up to this potential as of yet, but a move to the Premier League where he would get much more regular game time could help massively.

This in turn would allow Lopetegui to ditch Moutinho and move towards a future filled with younger talent who can steer Wolves away from danger.