Wolves defender Fernando Marcal appears likely to leave Molineux this summer and sign for Brazilian club Botafogo.
According to journalist Thiago Franklin, talks are ‘going well’ between the Rio de Janerio outfit and the Old Gold over a possible transfer for the Brazilian.
The 33-year-old joined Wolves in September 2020 from Ligue 1 side Lyon and has gone on to make 30 appearances in the West Midlands, 17 of those coming this term as Bruno Lage’s side have established themselves as one of the best defensive units in the Premier League.
Under the Portuguese manager, Wolves have conceded just 26 goals in 30 league matches, the fourth-best defensive record in the English top flight.
The left wing-back has certainly contributed defensively when called upon this season, keeping six clean sheets in his 16 league matches, but he is yet to register a goal contribution despite Lage encouraging his wing-backs to get high up the pitch.
With the 33-year-old’s contract at Molineux expiring in the summer, this begs the question as to whether losing him would be a big deal.
Of course, the idea of Wolves retaining Marcal on their books would only work if he were to sign a new contract, but there is nothing wrong with keeping an experienced player in the squad.
At 33, the wing-back is one of the oldest members in Wolves’ playing ranks, well above the average squad age of 25.9 years.
However, we have already seen the major issues which have arisen as a result of injuries amongst Wolves’ wing-backs, with the recent injuries to Nelson Semedo and Ki-Jana Hoever resulting in conventional left wing-back Jonny Otto deputising on the right flank. That has left Rayan Ait-Nouri and Marcal as the only available left-sided wing-backs.
If the Brazilian is to leave the West Midlands, Lage must ensure that Fosun allow him to add personnel at wing-back to ensure sufficient depth in that position.
With Marcal 33 years of age, the Old Gold might not be keen to extend the stay of a player who appears to be on the decline. However, he has bags of top-flight and European experience, playing in both the Champions League and Europa League, so he could still be a major asset for Wolves.
If he is to depart, Wolves will certainly need to invest in alternatives at wing-back, especially if they are to qualify for Europe and therefore juggle four competitions over the course of next season. Jettisoning him this summer could see them shorn of a proven operator and potentially scupper their plans of getting back into continental competition.