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Wolves: Deulofeu could be an Mbappe-esque signing

Wolves are reportedly interested in signing Udinese forward Gerard Deulofeu this month, and the Spaniard could be a Kylian Mbappe-esque signing for Julen Lopetegui.

Speaking on the House of Champions YouTube channel, Fabrizio Romano has suggested that the 56-year-old is a big fan of the former Watford forward.

He said: “I think it’s about Udinese wanting to keep Deulofeu. For example, I’m told that also Wolves’ manager, Lopetegui, is [a] big fan of Deulofeu. So it’s true that Aston Villa like him, but also Wolves have been tracking him.”

The 28-year-old will be well known to Premier League fans having spent time with Watford and Everton in the past, contributing a combined 25 goals and 30 assists across his spells with those two clubs.

One of those goals came in a memorable FA Cup semi-final win for the Hornets over Wolves in 2019, and while fans of the Old Gold would never like to see their team concede, surely even they could appreciate the “genius” of Deulofeu’s chip over John Ruddy, as BBC reporter Phil McNulty described it.

His former Everton boss Roberto Martinez was also full of praise for the winger’s impact from the bench in a Carabao Cup game for the Toffees against Barnsley in 2015.

The now-Portugal coach said: “He was outstanding when he came on. His pace, penetration and ability in one-on-one situations was something that inspired our second-half performance.”

This description of Deulofeu is perhaps where the similarities with Mbappe begin, as the PSG forward’s frightening pace and dribbling ability make him a nightmare for players to defend against, as was clear at the World Cup when he hit eight goals for France to win the Golden Boot.

According to FBref, the 24-year-old is statistically the third-most similar player to Deulofeu when compared with other forwards across Europe’s top leagues.

This season has seen the two versatile wingers register very similar numbers with regard to final third passes (39 vs 38), goal-creating actions (nine vs eight) and expected assists per 90 (0.32 vs 0.30).

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Bruno Lage on the touchline for Wolves.

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The fact that Deulofeu outscored Mbappe in these metrics would suggest that he is the more creative of the two, while the Frenchman is often on the end of chances rather than making them himself.

However, WhoScored also suggests that both Deulofeu and Mbappe excel at passing, playing key passes, dribbling, holding onto the ball and long shots, so they are clearly similar types of players.

Considering that the Spaniard has two goals and six assists in just 15 Serie A appearances this season, it seems clear that he could be an excellent prospective addition to Lopetegui’s squad this month as the Wolves boss looks to address the Old Gold’s woes in front of goal in 2023.