Wolves might not be able to spend a great deal in the upcoming transfer window but that hasn’t stopped them from picking out an eye-catching list of targets.
However, with faces in midfield potentially heading for the exit door, they may need to recruit in that area of the pitch too. Reports in Spain suggest that one player on whom Bruno Lage is keen is Dani Ceballos.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a two-year loan deal with Arsenal in the Premier League but has now headed back to Real Madrid.
Ceballos has a number of suitors, with Real Betis wanting to re-sign him. AC Milan and Lazio are also reportedly interested in the £24.3m-rated talent.
One of the biggest issues for Lage this summer could be replacing Ruben Neves, who appears to be the most expendable player in the Wolves squad as they look to cash in on the Portuguese in a bid to drive more funds for recruitment.
A bid is yet to be lodged but if, he does move away from Molineux, Wolves could sign a brilliant replacement in the Spaniard.
Ceballos made a few high-profile mistakes towards the end of his time in north London but he is remarkably composed in possession and has a wonderful eye for a pass.
Speaking about his game last season, Michael Thomas said: “Ceballos is the glue. He comes and collects and then breaks the line which is always a difficult thing to do and requires a special kind of player to do so.”
The midfielder hasn’t quite lived up to his true billing yet but he is surprisingly adept defensively despite his slight frame. Last season, Ceballos prevailed in 1.5 tackles per match and completed 1.4 interceptions per game in the top flight of English football.
Those aren’t outstanding numbers but it provides evidence that he can do the dirty work like Neves has done in the Midlands.
Mikel Arteta regularly fielded the Wolves target as a deep-lying playmaker in the quarterback role, a position where Neves regularly played under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Furthermore, the former Gunners loanee managed 9.2 progressive carries per match last term – that’s the numbers of times a player moves the ball towards the opponent’s goal at least five yards.
This would not be a like-for-like Neves replacement but Ceballos would likely do a fabulous job of slotting straight into that midfield.
His style of play would be perfect for a Wolves team aiming to be more offensive.