Wolves‘ decision to sign Willy Boly on a permanent deal sadly backfired as the centre-back was never able to really reproduce the levels of performance that he showed during his loan spell at Molineux.
The towering 6 foot 6 Ivorian centre-back joined Wolves on loan from Porto for the 2017/18 campaign and was a huge part of their Championship title-winning season. He made 36 appearances in the second tier, contributing three goals and two assists, and he earned a superb 7.52 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
This ranked him as the top performer in Nuno Espirito Santo’s side for that season, so it was something of a no-brainer for the Old Gold to sign him on a permanent deal ahead of their return to the Premier League, with Boly joining in a transfer worth £10m.
That fee looked to be something of a bargain when the Ivorian was one of Wolves’ outstanding players in their 2018/19 Premier League campaign, averaging a strong 7.12 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
Ruben Neves spoke highly of the defender upon his return from injury in March of last season, saying: “He’s a great player, of course. I think we have a great squad. He’s been an important player for us and unfortunately got some injuries, but the players who were playing did a fantastic job as well.”
However, it was clear that, when Bruno Lage arrived at the club, the former Porto man became more of a backup. He made just 11 appearances under Nuno’s successor before he was sold to Nottingham Forest during the summer, with the Reds paying a mere £2.25m for his services.
Given Wolves’ defensive woes this season, which have arguably come about after the exits of important centre-backs such as Boly, Romain Saiss and Conor Coady, the Old Gold would have perhaps been better off keeping the Ivory Coast international at Molineux, especially considering that they made such a significant loss on him.