This is a season that Wolverhampton Wanderers will want to quickly forget about.
Any chance of securing European football has evaporated quickly while they have been dealt a number of catastrophic injury blows.
One of the injuries in recent weeks was to Joao Moutinho. It may not have been a season-ending problem like Jonny and Pedro Neto received but it still kept him out for a few weeks.
Moutinho’s form has improved in recent months with a goal against Arsenal and an assist versus Manchester City.
That being said, his opening to the season was rather poor. He was off the pace and didn’t register a single goal involvement until February.
It was form that sparked words of negativity from Wolves reporter Tim Spiers who claimed this could be the veteran midfielder’s final campaign as a regular in the starting XI.
He said: “I think you’ve got to question if this is his final season, certainly as a first-choice player.
“I think he’d be good to have around the squad, he’s important in the dressing room, but [not] as a first choice. He’s 35 this year, he can still have an impact on games, but not nearly as regularly as he was doing it before.”
Trying to replace someone like Moutinho will be an incredibly tricky task. He has defined the very essence of consistency since joining Wolves from Monaco.
However, now in the twilight of his career, the Old Gold could perhaps benefit from someone with a bit more energy and vibrancy.
The man they should target this summer is Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Wolves were interested in the Arsenal man back in January but he joined West Brom on loan instead.
Maitland-Niles has made his name as a wing-back in the Arsenal set up but his preferred role is in the middle of the park.
Described as a “Rolls-Royce” by Martin Keown, he’s made a seamless transition to the Baggies and is now starring as a midfield player.
Maitland-Niles covers the ground impressively and unlike Moutinho, is a more mobile individual. He can pick out a pass like the Portuguese can and his defensive attributes have come on leaps and bounds in recent years.
He’d be a real asset to Wolves and could be their perfect player. After all, Nuno loves someone who can play in more than one role.
Speaking about this quality, Chris Sutton once said: “The young man’s versatility is a weapon. He is such a versatile talent – a diamond.”
Moutinho hasn’t had a disastrous campaign but it’s clear that time is winding down on his glistening career. Maitland-Niles would be a top-drawer replacement.