Wolverhampton Wanderers will need nothing short of a complete transformation when they return to action in the Premier League, after a hugely disappointing start to the campaign.
The Midlands club have found themselves rock bottom in the top flight ahead of the World Cup break after continuous poor performances over their first 15 league outings.
Wolves’ plight ultimately cost Bruno Lage his job at Molineux, with the club’s hierarchy appointing Julen Lopetegui as the manager who will lead the team in their challenge to retain their Premier League status over the second half of the season.
The newly-appointed manager is only just getting settled into his new job and despite confirmation of his arrival in November, will only manage his first Premier League game on Boxing Day in a clash with Everton.
Indeed, the Spanish manager will be thrilled with his start at the club as Wolves progressed to the next round of the Carabao Cup after securing a 2-0 win over Gillingham last night, so supporters will be hopeful the victory will be a sign of things to come.
Lopetegui will be given the golden opportunity to make his own mark on the squad when the transfer market opens in the next few weeks, and the powers at Molineux will likely aim for an ambitious window.
One player who has been linked with a shock move to Wolves this week is Barcelona and France star Ousmane Dembele.
It was reported by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo that many Premier League clubs are interested in securing the signature of the forward as Barcelona’s financial difficulties have led to their willingness to part ways with him – with Wolves named as one of the interested parties.
Since joining Barcelona back in 2017 for £135.5m, Dembele has scored 37 goals and registered 41 assists over 170 appearances with a goal contribution every 128 minutes so far.
Not only that, the 25-year-old – who was hailed “special” by his manager Xavi – ranks in the top 10% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for assists, shot-creating actions and dribbles completed.
Lopetegui could even land his very own Vinicius Junior at Molineux with the Real Madrid sensation named as one of the most comparable players to Dembele, according to FBRef.
It’s easy to understand why they are alike when you consider the dazzling ability they possess with the ball, bamboozling opponents with their dangerous pace and trickery.
The wide-attacking forwards have shared many similar attributes over this season so far including goal contributions (9 v 9), goals per shot on target (0.36 v 0.40), pass completion (77.9% v 79.3%), shot-creating actions (55 v 62) and tackles won (9 v 11).
With that being said, Lopetegui could finally get Wolves scoring in 2023 with the signing of Dembele – a player valued at £61m – and if they could secure their ambitious swoop it could make a huge difference to their season.