Improvement needed at Molineux.
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Wolverhampton Wanderers are having a disappointing season in terms of results, but often the performances have been better than the points they have generated.
Wolves certainly deserved something from games such as against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and though the team have lost 14 matches, 7 of those have been by a single goal.
If those matches were converted into draws, the additional 7 points gained would see the club move into midtable.
That either shows that Wolves are not playing as badly as their points tally suggests, or that they lack the cutting edge or heart to get something out of a tight game.
No one would doubt the hearts of the players, who put in an astonishing amount of effort each game, but the lack of quality in crucial areas may prove critical.
There are plenty of hard grafters in the Wolves team, but substantially less guile and creativity.
Matt Jarvis possesses plenty of skill and a decent delivery, while the direct running of Stephen Hunt can also cause problems for opposition, but in the middle of the park Nenad Milijas and Karl Henry do not create much between them – though Milijas does possess a wicked shot.
Is reinforcement needed at Molineux for the club to avoid relegation then, or can Wolves turn their performances into points?
Over to Mick McCarthy:
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be fine with the players we have. Everything we’ve tried so far we’ve come up against obstacles,” said the Wolves manager.
“We’ve been thwarted by various factors including geography and players wanting to go elsewhere.
“I’m delighted with the one we’ve brought in [Adam Hammill] and we’ve got players coming back from injury.”
What is clear from McCarthy’s words though is that he has certainly made attempts to sign players, but has been ultimately unsuccessful, and now appears to be putting a brave face on things.
Here are ten prospective January transfer window signings then – as reported in the media elsewhere.
1. Mamadou Bagayoko
Nice striker (as in the football club based in the French city – though I don’t doubt he’s an amiable chap) Mamadou Bagayoko came to Wolves for a trial in November, but no word came out of the club after its conclusion.
Bagayoko though remains optimistic.
“We’ll talk again, maybe during the winter transfer window,” said the Mali international, who has an impressive 11 goals in 15 appearances for his country, but one gets the feeling he will not be playing at Molineux any time soon.
2. Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths is currently on trial at Wolves, and expected to sign soon. He could prove a real bargain for the club.
The Dundee forward has been prolific for the Scottish side, scoring 21 goals in 46 games.
Wolves reportedly offered £150,000 for his services, but though Dundee accepted the offer, the SFA turned it down due to the transfer embargo in place.
Now though, the deal is expected to go through, and at that price Griffiths can be of little risk to Wolves. Should he prove good enough to push Mick McCarthy’s first choice strikers for a place in the team, he will be an outstanding addition – though you have to feel for Dundee.
3. Robbie Keane (Mirror)
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ interest in signing a new striker is clear from the two names above, and the Daily Mirror has suggested Robbie Keane will rejoin the club.
It actually makes a lot of sense – though it is easy to get the feeling that the paper have noted a few connections and declared it ‘evidence’ a move will take place.
Spurs want to sell Robbie Keane. Robbie Keane used to play for Wolves. He was managed by Mick McCarthy for the Republic Of Ireland at the 2010 World Cup. His current strike partner at international level is Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.
It’s a certainty!
4. Grant Leadbitter
Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter knows he is not going to play in the Premier League for Ipswich Town next season, and would probably be open to the attention of West Ham and Wolves – who the Express and Star say are the clubs interested.
They give a price tag of £2m for the midfielder, but the Tractor Boys most probably hope for a bidding war to be sparked between the two clubs.
5. Michael Johnson
Just a few years ago, Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson was considered one of the brightest prospects in England.
A wave of serious injuries have curtailed his progress though, and he has fallen down the pecking order at Eastlands.
Still, if Johnson could get anywhere near the player he was back then, he would make a dynamic force in midfield for Wolves.
He is likely to be available either on loan or at just £2m for his permanent signing.
6. Michael Brown
There’s just not enough steel in the Wolverhampton Wanderers midfield, according to the Daily Mail. Karl Henry is clearly a massive pansy.
The Mail says they want to boost their ranks by signing Michael Brown from Portsmouth on a free transfer.
Brown looks as if he has played his last game for the club, as he is one appearance from securing a £35,000 bonus and year’s extension to his contract – which Pompey can scarcely afford.
Could Wolves step in to take the 33 year-old Brown off their books?
7. Joleon Lescott
A rather optimistic signing would be that of Joleon Lescott for Manchester City, but with Roberto Mancini looking to rebuild his defence, Lescott is reported by the Daily Mail as allowed to leave the club on loan.
The player himself has always indicated that he would be open to returning to Wolves at some point in the future.
“Wolves have been a massive part of my life. If the situation was right I’d always return,” he told the Independent recently.
Lescott gets a reasonable amount of game time at Manchester City, so whether that time is now remains doubtful.
There is another significant obstacle: Lescott’s £90,000 wages.
Unless Manchester City would help Wolves out, this deal is dead in the water before it has even begun.
8. Dedryck Boyata
Dedryck Boyata would be a more realistic loan option from Manchester City, but they will have to contest with Wigan Athletic for his services.
The young Belgian centre back has earned sporadic selection despite being far from a big name at Eastlands, but his rawness was highlighted in an early sending off in Manchester City’s 0-3 defeat to Arsenal at Eastlands.
If Mick McCarthy could coax the potential out of the 20 year-old though, he could be on his way to the top.
9. Danny Shittu
Danny Shittu is a free agent as of today, after leaving Millwall upon the expiry of his short term deal.
Shittu has top flight experience with clubs such as Watford and Bolton Wanderers, and would be a decent option in reserve for Wolves’ first choice centre backs.
He would almost certainly be interested in another opportunity in the Premier League.
10. Curtis Davies
The final centre half linked with Wolverhampton Wanderers recently has been Aston Villa’s Curtis Davies, who impressed in his 3 month spell at Leicester City.
Nevertheless he has been unable to break up the impressive partnership of Richard Dunne and James Collins in the Villa defence, and the 25 year-old believes he will have a better chance of first team football elsewhere.
On his day Curtis Davies is a great ball playing centre back, and one certainly worthy of a place in a Premier League side.
Wolves would do well to secure his loan signing ahead of Celtic and Stoke City.
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