When it’s come to Wolves’ Premier League form, there hasn’t been much to criticise in the previous two years.
They have been a breath of fresh air to the top-flight but now they are facing doubters and criticism. Nuno Santo’s men have won just three of their last 13 matches and pressure is building upon the management.
So, where is it all going wrong?
One of Wolves’ biggest problems at the moment is their midfield. When it comes to creativity and scoring goals, none of their central players have a particularly outstanding record throughout there respective careers.
For context, Ruben Neves has netted just 21 goals in over 250 career appearances while Joao Moutinho has only 50 strikes in 714 outings. It’s pretty grim reading for Leander Dendoncker too. The Belgian has 20 goals in 292 club appearances.
Though, they are also struggling from a defensive point of view and with dictating the rhythm of the game. That has never been more evident than in their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace last Saturday.
Ebere Eze ran riot at Selhurst Park as he scored the goal that separated the two teams. There was a lack of dynamism in the middle of the park as Moutinho significantly struggled with the pace of the game.
He was dribbled past on four occasions and failed to play a single key pass. It’s been a dismal campaign for the Portuguese ace and it’s already been suggested that this could be his final campaign as a regular in the starting XI.
Wolves’ midfield desperately needs improving but fortunately, there could be a quick fix. The transfer window closes on Monday evening but they have a midfielder on their radar.
According to reports in Spain (via The Mirror), the Old Gold are one of a number of teams interested in signing Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour on loan.
They face competition from Aston Villa, West Ham, West Brom and Crystal Palace so it won’t be straightforward pursuit.
Yet, given their struggles in the middle of the park, he’s someone they simply have to sign.
Gilmour’s record in front of goal isn’t the best – the 19-year-old hasn’t scored at senior level yet – but crucially he has plenty of other attributes that the Wolves midfield is missing.
Speaking about the Chelsea teenager when he burst onto the scene in a win over Everton, Roy Keane waxed lyrical about the Scot.
He said: “As the game started I literally got out of my seat, which I very rarely do, and I thought, ‘Who is this kid?’ There are certain traits you want from a midfielder, quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure.”
Keane concluded: “He had everything, it was one of the best performances I have seen in a long, long time.”
It’s rare a player has the former Manchester United man standing up and taking notice but he didn’t stop there with his appraisal: “He makes the game look easy, he looks forward, he’s got his head swivelling, looking over the shoulder, he was very positive with his passing,” Keane added.
Wolves are missing someone like that at the moment. During their defeat to Palace, Dendoncker made just four progressive passes – balls further than ten yards towards the opponent’s goal – while Moutinho managed just two. On top of that, the pairing didn’t attempt a single dribble.
In Gilmour’s only start of the season – a 1-1 draw with Krasnodar in the Champions League – he was far better in these two statistics. He completed five progressive passes and also attempted four dribbles.
If Wolves want a better transition between defence and attack, then signing the £43.2k-per-week teenager on loan from Chelsea would certainly be a good idea.