With the January transfer window fast appoaching, Bruno Lage and Jeff Shi will be starting to consider players who they could look to bring into Wolverhampton Wanderers in order to give the club the best possible chance of securing a top-half finish in the Premier League this season.
One such position will almost certainly be centre-back, with summer signing Yerson Mosquera being ruled out of action until at least February as a result of a hamstring injury, and both Willy Boly and Romain Saiss more than likely being unavailable for selection in January due to their potential involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.
As such, Lage could well be left with just Conor Coady and Max Kilman as senior options for his three-man defence, something that would undoubtedly be a disaster for the 45-year-old manager.
However, before dipping into the transfer market, perhaps Lage and Shi should consider an option much closer to home – figurative speaking, at least – in the shape of Nigel Lonwijk.
Having joined Wolves from PSV Eindhoven back in January of 2020, there was a considerable amount of hype about the 19-year-old centre-back, with Shi himself stating of the youngster’s signing: “To be able to get somebody of Nigel’s quality across the line was really pleasing and we’re delighted with the signing.
“He’s very good physically, a good defender one-v-one, and has strong technical ability, so we very much see him fitting into how our system as an outside centre-back. He’s got good physicality as well, so ticks the boxes in many of the things we’re looking for in terms of our centre-back positions.”
However, while it is not particularly unusual for a teenager making a move to England from another country, the £90k-rated defender is still yet to make a first-team appearance for the club, being sent on loan to Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard for the 2021/22 campaign in order to continue his development in senior football.
And, if the 19-year-old’s most recent performance against PEC Zwolle is anything to go by, it would very much appear as if the youngster would make an extremely useful addition to Lage’s current options in the heart of his Wolves defence this winter.
Indeed, over the course of his 90 minutes on the pitch, the former Netherlands U16 international made a whopping 14 clearances, two interceptions, one tackle and won an incredible 11 of his 15 attempted duels.
Aside from this defensive masterclass, the 6 foot 3 centre-back also scored the match-winning goal for Fortuna, while his overall display saw him earn a SofaScore match rating of 8.3 – the highest of any player to feature in the fixture.
As such, with it being clear for all to see that Wolves are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements this January, bringing Lonwijk back to Molineux would very much look to be a smart move by both Lage and Shi, as, should the defender indeed impress when given a chance in the first-team, he could well go on to save Fosun millions of pounds in transfer fees this winter.