Julen Lopetegui has seemingly already identified a key problem area at Wolves, with reports suggesting that the Spaniard wants to bring centre-back Javi Sanchez to Molineux in January.
According to Caught Offside, Wolves have already made contact with Real Valladolid about potentially signing the 25-year-old defender, with a fee of €15m (£13m) likely to be enough to prise him away from the La Liga side.
Loptegui worked with Sanchez during his time at Real Madrid and is said to rate him highly so Wolves are clearly keen to get a deal done, despite the 6 foot 2 defender only signing a new deal with Juan José Rojo Martín’s side in the summer.
Wolves’ lack of centre-back options has already been exposed at times this season, with Nathan Collins’ sending-off against Manchester City forcing the Old Gold to either utilise Ruben Neves in defence or start the inexperienced Toti at the back.
Bruno Lage inexplicably allowed club captain Conor Coady to join Everton on loan during the summer transfer window and Wolves have desperately missed him so far this season, shipping 22 goals so far in the top flight, compared to just 43 across the entirety of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.
Everton, meanwhile, have conceded eight goals fewer than Wolves and have utilised Coady in a back four, which was seemingly the main reason Lage allowed him to join the Toffees in the first place, with the Portuguese manager also strengthening what could be a direct rival in a relegation battle this season.
Therefore, it is clear that Lopetegui needs to bring in a centre-back during the January window and Sanchez could be the ideal man, as he has been a regular at Valladolid since joining initially on loan in 2019, making 67 appearances and contributing three goals and one assist.
This season has seen the 25-year-old average a strong 6.70 rating from WhoScored for his performances in Spain’s top flight, which would rank him as the second-best performer in Wolves’ squad, ahead of all other defenders.
He has also averaged more interceptions and clearances than both Collins and Max Kilman so far this season, which suggests that he could be a superior option in the heart of the defence, perhaps filling the void left by Coady’s departure.