In the last few years, it’s been hard to fault Wolves. They play eye-catching counter-attacking football and with a solid core, found themselves competing for European honours.
They would have done so this season too if it wasn’t for Arsenal’s FA Cup win at the end of the last campaign,
Yet, they haven’t covered themselves in much glory this term. They have won just two of their last ten games and without Raul Jimenez, they look a shadow of their former selves.
That run of ten games have coincided with a fractured skull for the Mexican and the goals have dried up without him. Since his absence was confirmed, Nuno Santo’s team have scored three goals in one match on just a solitary occasion.
Thus, there is now talk of relegation among some members of the Molineux fanbase. Their hopes of improving do not look likely to grow either with any big investment in the playing squad looking unlikely at this time.
One player who has repeatedly been mentioned in the same breath as Wolves this month is Inter midfielder Christian Eriksen.
Gianluca Di Marzio reported last week that Wolves have been in direct contact with the player’s entourage over a possible move but nothing has materialised since.
Eriksen only joined Inter a year ago and is currently rated at £31.5m so could be a costly deal for the Midlands side to pursue.
Though, if he does arrive back in the Premier League, he could be the perfect successor to Joao Moutinho. Now, when you assess Eriksen, you’ll traditionally think of his goal-scoring abilities from attacking midfield. After all, he netted 69 goals in 305 appearances for Tottenham.
However, at Inter, Antonio Conte has just discovered a new role for the Dane – one that sees him play in a deep-lying role familiar with Moutinho.
The 28-year-old first played in that role last week when the Italian giants beat Fiorentina 2-1 after extra time. Eriksen was influential, proving to be a lynchpin at the base of Conte’s midfield.
He completed four key passes – more than anyone on the pitch, while he also won possession back more often than any of his teammates and completed more passes in the opposing team’s half than any other player.
For a deep-lying midfielder, that’s really all you can ask for. It’s no surprise to see that Jamie Redknapp once said that if you give him time and space, he will “destroy” teams. That was evidently the case against La Viola.
Coincidentally, they’re the same attributes that Moutinho has so routinely brought to Molineux. Like Eriksen, he is adept at picking a pass, completing 2.2 key passes a game in his first season at Wolves and producing two a match last term.
He is also excellent at winning the ball back, just as the Denmark international did last week for Inter. For context, Moutinho has won an impressive 2.4 tackles per match in 2020/21.
Eriksen hasn’t traditionally played in this role very often but he’s now shown that he has what it takes. The midfielder would be an astute acquisition from Jeff Shi.