Some eyebrows were raised when Romain Saiss remained a Wolves player for this season.
The Morocco international was linked with a move away from Molineux, despite him having his contract extended earlier this year.
The Athletic had said that it was looking ‘likely’ that Saiss would move on.
It was widely anticipated that he would be making way for a new central defender.
But that player was never forthcoming, and Saiss stayed put.
Jeff Shi has been criticised for the club’s inaction in the summer.
A central defender was needed, but the chairman suggested a deal could not be done for anyone better than the current options.
Saiss is not a natural centre-half, but quietly, he has started the 2021/22 season quite well.
He’s played every Premier League game so far as the left-sided centre-back.
Clearly Bruno Lage rates him, and it’s hard to criticise him too much for his efforts so far this term.
He wasn’t great against Brentford, but neither was the whole team.
In the other five games though Saiss has been steady. Against Southampton on Sunday he probably had his best outing so far.
Steady Saiss deserves credit
The perception of Saiss for a lot of people at Molineux is that he is the ‘weakest’ of the centre-back options.
But so far this season, the £22,000-a-week star (Spotrac) is performing above expectation.
According to official Premier League statistics, Saiss is joint-seventh for clearances made so far (26), along with James Tarkowski and Virgil van Dijk.
WhoScored statistics indicate he’s been good on the ball too, with 84% pass completion. He is also winning 2.2 aerial duels per 90.
Saiss can be aggressive, but he’s only averaged 0.7 fouls per 90 so far, and picked up just the two bookings.
He may not be in everyone’s best Wolves XI, but arguably he is justifying his place right now and fair play to him for that.