Gary O’Neil and Wolves will need to sign a striker this month. They’ve lost Fabio Silva and Sasa Kalajdzic, having allowed the duo to join Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively on loan until the end of the season.
To that end, the Midlands outfit have apparently shown interest in Getafe’s Borja Mayoral, a player who’s also caught the eye of Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Wolves. 26-year-old Mayoral is the second top-scorer in La Liga this season with 12 goals, but Wolves are also looking at another striker who’s at a much earlier stage in his development.
Kilicsoy bid rejected
According to Turkish outlet Haber Turk, Wolves have enquired about Besiktas forward Semih Kilicsoy. The youngster has apparently been “on the radar” of sides across Europe for “a long time” now, but it’s Wolves who have “knocked” on the door.
It’s even claimed that they’ve gone as far as making a formal bid this month, one that the Super Lig outfit have rejected. It remains to be seen whether they return with an improved offer, or prioritise alternative targets.
It’s worth noting that it was only on 2 January that Kilicsoy signed a new contract, running until the summer of 2028. In that sense, Wolves’ interest comes at a bad time, with Besiktas holding all the cards after doing what they could to tie down their asset.
Kilicsoy can succeed where Silva failed
18-year-old Kilicsoy, a product of the Besiktas academy, put up devastating numbers for the Istanbul outfit’s under-19 team, scoring 42 times in 64 matches, a strike rate of one in every 1.52 games. While there’s no guarantee that output like that will translate to the senior level, Kilicsoy has handled the transition spectacularly well so far.
He made his first start of the season in a 3-1 defeat away to Alanyaspor just before Christmas, and then kept his place for the following game at Hatayspor, where he got his first-ever Super Lig goal in a 2-1 win. He followed that up with another in a 3-1 defeat to Kasimpasa, and then produced an individual masterclass as his side beat Caykur Rizespor 4-0, scoring a brace and providing an assist too. That’s five direct goal involvements in his first four starts.
In a sense, Kilicsoy has benefitted from a disappointing season for the club, who find themselves 18 points off leaders Galatasaray already having only been 10 points adrift at the end of 2022/23. In the circumstances, manager Fernando Santos has decided to give youth a chance, and been rewarded.
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Kilicsoy has only played 18 first-team games, 14 of them this season, but already he looks like a future international for Turkey, having netted five in six for the under-19s. No wonder football talent scout Jacek Kulig named him as part of a generation of “frightening” young forwards.
If Wolves did sign Kilicsoy, the comparisons to Fabio Silva – the 18-year-old who commanded a club-record fee in 2020 – would be inevitable. O’Neil would hope for much better results this time, having seen Silva score just five times in 72 appearances before his latest loan move.