When Wolves came into the current season, they had high hopes of qualifying for European football once again.
After all, Nuno Santo has guided his team to consecutive top-seven finishes, bringing an eye-catching brand of football to the top-flight with him.
The Old Gold would often line-up in the same fashion – a three-man defensive shape – but despite that, they managed to prove unpredictable. That was a positive trait but right now, they’re unpredictable for all the wrong reasons.
Nuno continues to tinker with his side and after Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal, they have won just three of their last 13 outings in all competitions.
With that in mind, they could do with some new vigour arriving in the January transfer window. Willian Jose has been signed from Real Sociedad on loan but it would be criminal if Jeff Shi didn’t look for more recruits.
One area they desperately need an improvement in is in midfield. Joao Moutinho and Leander Dendoncker failed to offer rhythm and purpose to the play against Crystal Palace. Wolves lost and in the process, they managed one key pass and one dribble between them. That game was a reflection of Wolves’ general midfield woes in recent weeks.
Thus, the perfect man to target on deadline day would be a certain Renato Sanches. The Portuguese sensation was linked with a move to the Midlands back in November and there’s every reason to believe that a deal could be put in motion once again.
His agent is currently Jorge Mendes, someone who not only has Nuno as one of his clients but also host of Wolves’ Portuguese playing contingent.
Though, there is more to Sanches than just his agent. The £25.2m-rated midfielder is a positive player in the engine room and provides plenty going forward – something Ruben Neves, Moutinho and Dendoncker are failing to produce at the moment.
For Lille this season, the 23-year-old has registered 1.3 shots per game and 1.8 dribbles a match. For context, his dribbling statistics would put him fifth in the Wolves squad, above every single central midfield player. His shots per appearance, meanwhile, are better than Moutinho’s.
When Sanches was still playing for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, the league’s official website wrote the following review: “A box-to-box midfielder with the strength of a WWE heavyweight and the nimble feet of a ballet dancer, Sanches is very much like Clarence Seedorf.”
They continued: “He also comes complete with an impressive range of passing, an absolute rocket of a shot and loves nothing more than to drive at opposition defenders. If he had wheels, he’d probably be a bulldozer with a V8 engine.”
It’s been evident this season that Wolves lack midfielders who are willing to drive at opposition defenders. That’s precisely why they must revive their interest in the Portugal international before the deadline closes.