Wolves’ win over Brighton on Sunday afternoon felt like a landmark moment for a number of Nuno Santo’s players.
Morgan Gibbs-White stole the show with a last-minute winner while Max Kilman returned to the fray to prove he still has something to offer.
The defender has been linked with the exit door but he and several other young players at Molineux put in a battling and brave display.
With Vitinha at the top of Wolves’ midfield, the future looks particularly bright. They will, of course, have to exercise their option to buy him but considering his performance against West Brom over a week ago, they’d be fools not to.
What Wolves do require, though, is a battling midfield player.
Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho bring poise and grace but Leander Dendoncker has been far from consistent throughout 2020/21.
The perfect player would be Boubakary Soumare, a man Wolves have been linked to in the French media. It’s thought Leicester are interested in the midfielder but Nuno’s men, Everton and Aston Villa have all made enquiries.
The 22-year-old is a dominating force in Ligue 1 for Lille and would add something brand new to the squad at Molineux.
He is strong in the tackle but crucially, he likes to stride forward and influence play in the final third too.
If we compare him to Dendoncker, they are pretty neck and neck for their contribution defensively but it’s in the build-up where Soumare really stands up.
Coincidentally, Dendoncker’s pass success (87.4%) is better, but Soumare’s tally (86.4%) is greater than both Moutinho and Neves.
What sets him apart from all of the midfielders at Wolves this season is his ability to carry the ball forward. On plenty of occasions Nuno’s side has lacked someone willing to transition things from defence into attack swiftly.
Fortunately, Soumare would provide them with an enormous dose of energy. In 2020/21, the youngster has carried the ball forward 157.1 yards per 90 minutes. That number is considerably more than Dendoncker (69.8) and the aforementioned Portuguese duo.
Moutinho carries the ball 111.8 yards per 90 minutes while Neves manages an average of 101.9.
It won’t come as a great surprise to hear that he’s been compared to Paul Pogba. Another all-action midfield player, he combines frantic energy with raw power.
Speaking about the Soumare in 2020, Lille president Gerard Lopez said: “He’s one of the very best at his job. He’s technical, with incredible physical power and wins a great deal of possession. He’s a modern No.6 or 8. We’ll see him in the France team very soon.”
Valued at £30m a few months ago, it won’t be a cheap deal for Wolves to conclude, but if they get it over the line he’d represent an enormous upgrade.