As Wolves desperate search for a striker continues, The Mirror’s Alex Richards shares the six forwards Wolves could bring in to bolster their attacking line.
Additional fire power. Its the thing Wolves fans are increasingly craving.
There can be no doubting that the two recent defeats – the 2-1 loss at Ipswich and the 5-0 hammering by Derby County – have shown that this incarnation of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC isn’t as good as some fans may have thought; certainly, there are a number who got carried away with an excellent start to the campaign from Kenny Jackett’s men.
The Derby defeat in particular showed Wolves for what they are: A work in progress. It’s no surprise Jackett talked up the Rams following the loss, having seen his side dissected and dismantled by Steve McClaren’s title hopefuls.
Derby are where Jackett wants his Wolves side to be, tactically, technically, mentally. But he is intelligent enough to know that Wanderers are 12 months (maybe more) behind in terms of their development, in comparison to their neighbours from the East Midlands.
January and the subsequent opening of the transfer window will see the Wolves hierarchy look to strengthen. They spent nothing in the summer other than £1million on George Saville in terms of transfer fees, happy to encourage home grown prospects and those who did so well in winning League One. Those players were deserving of their chance, and in leading the side to five points off the top of the table have let no one down.
However, they need help. Not merely in terms of fresh bodies, but also quality. Derby showed that. Other matches – such as Leeds away, Birmingham at home – have also shown that recently. Games that could have gone either way.
As mentioned at the opening, fire power is needed in particular. Bakary Sako is top scorer with seven goals, but there is no guarantee he’ll be with the club past January – much depends on the next six weeks where he is concerned. Nouha Dicko is the side’s most accomplished centre-forward, but he’s managed only three goals and as many assists.
With that being said, here’s a look at five attacking talents – none of whom are out of the realm of possibility – whom it could pay Wanderers to pursue.
Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace)
(Image via www.dailystar.co.uk)
The Twittersphere has been rife with a rumour of a loan deal for Dwight Gayle via one so-called agent – That deal, from sources close to Palace, is a non-starter – but one Palace player who could be available in January is Glenn Murray.
The player himself is now 31 and is currently at Reading until January 1. A return to the Palace reserves isn’t something that will appeal to him.
An intelligent striker, clever at linking with those behind him and with an excellent first touch, a loan or permanent move could be in his future. Never blessed with pace, so that’s not a problem. Why not Wolves?
Pros: Will likely be keen on a January move. Struck 30 Championship goals two seasons ago.
Arouna Kone (Everton)
(Image via www.skysports.com)
The Ivory Coast international won the FA Cup with Wigan in 2013, as well as scoring 11 Premier League goals that season, before following Roberto Martinez to Goodison Park. Since then, the 31-year-old – who cost £6million – has featured in just 81 minutes of action as injuries have wrecked his time on Merseyside.
However, Kone is closing in on a return to action, but is in desperate need of games.
And with Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto’o and Steven Naismith ahead of him in the Toffees pecking order, a loan deal would suit.
Pros: Used to playing as a lone striker, a multitude of top-level European experience.
Ricardo Vaz Te (West Ham)
(Image via www.express.co.uk)
Another possible loan option, the Portuguese striker has never been a prolific scorer – except for the 2011-12 season when he struck 20 Championship goals for Barnsley and then the Hammers (who won the Play-offs).
Now 28, he’s been around for a decade and is a favourite of Sam Allardyce.
However, behind big money Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Diafra Sakho he’s down the pecking order at Upton Park.
Pros: Quick, skilfull, an intelligent mover. Proven at Championship level.
Andre Gray (Brentford)
(Image via www.london24.com)
Wolverhampton-born, the 23-year-old tore up the non-league scene with Luton last season, earning him a move to Brentford during the summer.
After an initial settling in period with the Bees – during which time manager Mark Warburton kept faith with him – Gray has scored seven goals in 18 games altogether, improving with each passing week.
Quick, strong, and a decent finisher with both feet, he remains rough around the edges. But if the figures are right for the Bees – they’ll be looking to double/treble their summer outlay – then maybe he could be tempted to move to his hometown club.
Pros: Knows his way to goal, hard-working, plenty of room for improvement.
Idriss Saadi (Clermont)
(Image via www.izlesene.com)
Wolves have been keen onlookers at the French market over the past few years and were back scouting in Ligue 2 during the summer, looking at Andy Delort (who joined Wigan – where he’s yet to score).
Plucking someone from Ligue 1 is unlikely – both for personal reasons and financial – but a player of interest could be Clermont striker Idriss Saadi.
While his side are struggling, the 22-year-old has scored seven goals in 14 games, to go alongside the seven in 18 he struck in the second half of last season, having signed from Saint Etienne. Very much a No.9, the barrel-chested 6’1″ Saadi is a wildcard…but so was Diafra Sakho (and he’ll likely cost ten times less).
Pros: Strong, works channels well. A clever finisher. May fancy escaping a relegation battle.
Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo)
(Image via www.impactmontreal.com)
It’s not all that long ago that Giles Barnes was being tipped for England honours, following his breakthrough with Derby. However, injuries derailed his career in his home country.
So much so that Barnes had to head west, to prove himself in MLS. And having made the switch from midfield to playing up front, the 26-year-old has proven his fitness (72 league games in the last two years) and is showing his quality once again.
Blessed with good vision, tremendous acceleration, and the ability to make opposing defenders look foolish, he’s got his career back on track in Texas and is enjoying his football once more. A step up on former trialist Juan Agudelo.
Pros: Now injury free, supremely talented, capable of fulfilling a number of roles.
Alex Richards – @AA_Richards