It is going to be a huge summer at Molineux heading into the 2021/22 season, with Wolverhampton Wanderers needing to improve positions all over the pitch.
One position that is an absolute priority is in the centre of their defence. Firstly, Wolves have endured their worst season at the back, conceding nine more goals (49) than last season (40) and more than the year before (46) with two games remaining.
Secondly, with the delayed AFCON 2021 (Africa Cup of Nations), set to be held over the course of January 2022, the club will be stretched to their finest resources if they do not recruit a new centre-half this summer.
Romain Saiss is a mainstay in the Morocco national team and will be expected to be a key part of their defence. On the other hand, Willy Boly pledged his international career to the Ivory Coast last year, and as it stands, he is expected to feature if fit.
This would leave Wolves with only Conor Coady and Max Kilman as the immediate options during this time.
If Wolves were not to spend, then they would be able to use Owen Otasowie or Leander Dendoncker, although Nuno prefers to use them as midfielders. Other options from the academy may be Dion Sanderson, who won the young player of the season whilst on loan at Sunderland this term, and Christian Marques, who is yet to make his Premier League debut.
The lack of Premier League experience for Marques is a cause for concern and is another reminder that Wolves need to invest in a centre back, something they have not done so significantly since returning to the Premier League.
In fact, the only centre-backs manager Nuno has signed for the first team are Willy Boly and Roderick Miranda. The latter was released back in January after hardly featuring after Wolves’ promotion-winning season in 2018.
Several options have been touted for Wolves, one of which, Jack Hendry has been heavily linked following an impressive season on loan at KV Oostende in Belgium. However, there are several question marks about his ability to step up to the Premier League, having failed to make a huge impact at his parent club Celtic.
Another option from Belgium is Club Brugge’s Odilon Kossounou, dubbed the next ‘Kolo Toure’, who with a lot of Champions League and title-winning experience for the Belgian side may excite Wolves fans more. However, he also heralds from the Ivory Coast which may make such a move unlikely this summer.
Kossounou would certainly fit the profile of a centre-back the club would like to sign. Failing to address this position in the summer seems risky at the very least.