Conor Coady has been the beating heart of Wolverhampton Wanderers for a grand total of six years.
The defender signed for Wolves in 2015 after a season at Huddersfield, and since then, he’s become one of the most impressive English centre-backs around.
Coady is now the club captain at Molineux after barely missing a single game under the stewardship of Nuno Espirito Santo. He is also a full England international and has captained his country on two of the five caps he’s been awarded by Gareth Southgate.
With those adulations comes the potential to go on to bigger and better things. The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Tottenham and Everton, who are set to battle it out for his signature this summer.
The new manager of Spurs is Nuno, so it’s hardly a surprise to see him touted with a move to north London.
If he does leave the Midlands behind, though, the void in the middle of defence will be enormous. Willy Boly is still a brick wall of solidity but Romain Saiss was suspect last term and has also been linked with an exit.
One player Bruno Lage could bring to Molineux is Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski. The Telegraph reported last month that they had joined the queue with West Ham to prise him away from Turf Moor.
Tarkowski’s contract with the Clarets expires in 12 months’ time, so he could be snapped up on the cheap; he is currently valued at £22.5m. If does arrive at Wolves, then he’d be the ideal replacement for the potentially exit-bound Coady.
A fellow England international, the Burnley titan isn’t a captain of his club but he still forms part of the core leadership group under Sean Dyche.
Tarkowski leads by example on the pitch and, at the age of 28, possesses all the necessary experience to replace such an influential player at Wolves.
Tony Philliskirk, former Head of Academy at Oldham, once told The Athletic about the Burnley defender: “He became the main man on defensive and attacking set pieces, that as a player makes you think you are an integral part of the team.
“He became that because of his level of performance. He was humble and never got ahead of himself. His confidence increased and he became a leader which we discussed with him, organising those in front of him.”
Out of context, that could quite easily describe the bold and brave Coady as well. A leader of men, he regularly barks orders towards his teammates.
Also described as “exceptional” by his peers, the £50,000-per-week Tarkowski is a player who continues to get better. He may have fallen out of the England squad but, like the Wolves skipper, he is a reliable and composed performer.
It would be smart business from Wolves to sign him.