Wolverhampton Wanderers suffered majorly under their former manager Bruno Lage earlier this season, winning just once in the Premier League before he was unsurprisingly sacked in October
Despite their poor form in his final few months in charge, the 46-year-old will be remembered for leading the Old Gold to a top-half finish last season. He may also have signed a player who could yet generate a small fortune for the club too, having secured a permanent £9.5m deal for left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri in the summer of 2021.
The Frenchman signed a five-year contract at Molineux, and Julen Lopetegui may be the one to profit from Lage’s masterclass over the next couple of years.
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The defender originally arrived at Wolves on a season-long loan deal from French outfit Angers in 2020 and he made a massive impact, scoring on his debut against Crystal Palace.
Over the course of the 2020/21 campaign, he made 21 appearances, sufficiently impressing to persuade the club to sign him permanently.
The left-back went from strength to strength last season, averaging a Sofascore rating of 6.9/10, which ranked him as Wolves’ joint-11th best performer. He displayed his forward-thinking capacities by making 0.7 key passes per game and creating three big chances, while he also grabbed two assists for good measure.
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He didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities either, despite a penchant for pushing forward as often as possible. Across his 23 league appearances, he made 2.8 tackles, one interception and 1.3 clearances per match while winning an impressive 6.2 duels per game at a success rate of 55%.
Although his performances this season haven’t quite lived up to the high standards of 2021/22, starting just nine games so far in the league, his improvement as a whole hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Football Transfers have valued the 21-year-old at €23.2m (£20.5m), which is more than double what the club paid for him less than two years ago; and if he keeps improving, this value will surely continue to rise.
The £33k-per-week gem, who was dubbed “creative” by Wolves official Twitter channel, has all the right attributes to establish himself under Lopetegui and continue on his upward trajectory.
The dynamo could generate a major profit for the Old Gold in the next few years if he is sold on for his current market value (or higher), and signing him permanently was arguably one of Lage’s finest moves at Molineux.