It was reported by Sky Sports News today that Belgian side Club Brugge had bid £4 million for Wolverhampton Wanderers academy graduate Owen Otasowie.
Additionally, the club are in talks to sell striker Rafa Mir to Atletico Madrid for just over £10m.
These transfer developments have disappointed Wolves fans, many of whom have been hoping to see the two talents thrive at Molineux.
Unfortunately for them it seems like both want to leave for pastures new. It might be too late for Wolves to convince them to stay.
In both players’ cases it is the same reason: they only have a year remaining on their contracts. This places Wolves in a weak negotiating position and means that they will receive lower fees.
Not only will the club be losing potentially millions from these deals, but those players could also forge excellent careers away from the black country.
Mir and Otasowie not even the worst example
The sale of these two gems might be a bitter pill for fans to swallow. It is also a timely reminder of one of their biggest mistakes in the transfer market in recent years.
In 2019, Wolves allowed U23 midfielder Pedro Goncalves to leave for free to join Portuguese side Famalicao. After impressing in his first season he joined Sporting Lisbon where he has been a revelation since.
Scoring 23 league goals from midfield, Goncalves propelled his team to a first league title in 19 years. Now set to play in the Champions League, he signed a new contract with the Portuguese giants this summer with a buyout set at €80 million (£67.86m).
During his time at Wolves he only made one senior appearance– against Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Cup.
Losing Mir and Otasowie this summer means the club will at least get some transfer fee. Yet again, it highlights an issue Wolves are having with maintaining talent.
How do Wolves fix this issue?
There is a very simple solution here for Wolves – give more first-team opportunities to their U23 players.
One thing the club have in their favour, as is the case with these players and demonstrated by the likes of Pedro Neto, is that the scouting system is very good at identifying talent.
However, the club must improve their strategy in encouraging players to sign longer-term contracts.
Otasowie has only one year left on his contract. Last season he made his debut for the club in a 2-1 win against Chelsea. It is at pivotal moment like this that the USA international’s contract scenario could have been sorted as opposed to this summer.
Mir also shone in SD Huesca’s promotion campaign during the 2019/20 season. Falling out of favour under ex-boss Nuno Espirito Santo, there appeared to be next-to-no discussion about his future at Molineux. Last season, he exploded in La Liga, scoring 13 goals.
Wolves must hope that new boss Bruno Lage will continue his excellent record from Benfica about developing young players, such as Joao Felix.
Until then, it is up to the club to ensure that exciting talents are unable to leave the club below their market value again.