Bruno Lage has been busy in the transfer market but you sense that the drama is only just beginning to unfold at Molineux.
A number of their key players continue to be linked with the exit door and if they do indeed depart, replacements will be required.
The Old Gold’s outstanding transfer of the summer so far is Trincao. The Portuguese sensation has arrived on loan from Barcelona with an option to buy.
Although improving their threat in the final third is of utmost importance, they simply have to invest in their shoddy defensive line as well.
According to Foot Mercato, Wolves could be planning to do that by signing West Ham’s Issa Diop.
The report claims the defender caught the eye of Liverpool and Manchester United a few years ago but is now being chased by the Molineux outfit, Crystal Palace and Southampton.
The Frenchman is currently valued at £16.2m via Transfermarkt.
It’s no secret that Wolves’ defensive record in 2020/21 was incredibly poor.
Diop has plenty of potential and he proved that when he first arrived in English football. A dominating presence with height and brute force, Jose Mourinho described him as a “monster.”
However, the centre-back’s career has taken a turn for the worse in the last 12 months. He only started 15 matches in the top-flight last term as he struggled to nail down a consistent place in David Moyes’ side.
What might be more concerning, however, is comparisons to Jesus Vallejo.
The Real Madrid defender signed on loan back in 2019/20 and was seen as quite the coup given his football education.
Though, his spell in the Midlands was a complete disaster as the Spaniard only managed two league appearances before heading back to Spain in January.
If you scroll down a list of similar players to Diop on FBRef, an in-depth analytics website, Vallejo’s name appears second on the list. But why is that? Well, their ability to read the game when being dribbled at isn’t the greatest.
Last season, Diop tackled 33.3% of players who tried to take him on while Vallejo managed to successfully challenge 28.6% of opponents. For context, let’s compare those numbers to Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool in 2018/19. During that season, the Dutchman was successful with a whopping 92.9% of the tackles he lodged on players dribbling against him.
The two players in question also make a similar number of recoveries. The Hammers’ defender made 7.25 per 90 minutes last campaign compared to Vallejo’s 6.8.
The latter’s period in the Midlands did not go according to plan so the idea of signing a similar sort of defender is unlikely to be taken too well.
That said, Diop does already have experience of the Premier League and English football. That could save him if he makes the move.