Wolverhampton Wanderers have had somewhat of a strange transfer window so far this summer, with Bruno Lage failing to significantly strengthen his side ahead of another tough campaign.
Only two new arrivals have landed at Molineux, Nathan Collins and Goncalo Guedes from Valencia in a £27.5m deal, although this won’t be enough to overcome the Midlands side’s woeful goalscoring issues.
With club captain Conor Coady leaving the club to join Everton on loan for the rest of the season in another intriguing move, Lage will be keen to add some defensive reinforcements to his team. One such player being considered is Welshman Ethan Ampadu.
There are a number of clubs from Italy who are interested in signing the Chelsea youngster, with Wolves also keen on adding him to their ranks.
Having spent the previous two seasons out on loan at Sheffield United and Venezia while playing regular football, it appears that the 21-year-old will be hoping for the same this season.
He could be the perfect Coady heir if he moved to Molineux and could well form an excellent defensive partnership with new signing Nathan Collins at the heart of the Wolves’ backline.
Last season, Ampadu actually won more tackles (43 to 18), made more pressures (429 to 197), and won a higher percentage of aerial duels (64.2% to 57.4%) compared to Coady, proving that he wouldn’t only be a replacement, but could also come in and significantly improve the team.
The biggest similarity between the two falls in their ability to play in a number of different positions.
Although the Portuguese manager never utilised the club’s former skipper in that role, it’s one where he played in before moving to Wolves, with Jamie Carragher documenting the following:
“A lot more football is played through midfield in the modern game and I am not sure he was quite quick enough with his feet in there. That’s something that would have stopped me playing at the real top level as a midfielder too.
“With his leadership qualities, physique and reading of the game, he just looked like a centre-back to me. The Wolves manager has to take credit because he has really pushed him there.”
Indeed, similar can be said of Ampadu who like Coady is a formidable reader of the game, ranking in the top 19% of centre-backs in the 2020/21 Premier League season for interceptions, as well as in the top 12% for dribblers tackled.
It’s clear the £12k-per-week “diamond” – in the words of scout Jacek Kulig – is unlikely to be at Chelsea for much longer, and with less than two weeks to go until the transfer window slams shut, Lage needs to act fast or he might be severely short at the heart of his defence after allowing Coady to depart.