Wolves’ potential starting XI after January including the “next Mbappe”

Wolverhampton Wanderers will expect to have a busy January off the field, with numerous outgoings and arrivals potentially on the cards.

Gary O’Neil’s side have already made progress this season since the boss joined in the summer, but in order to break into the top half of the table, the Old Gold must look to the transfer market for reinforcement.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a new-look Wolves side could look like, if their dream transfer targets were acquired this window, with three new faces entering the side.

GK – Jose Sa

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Jose Sa

The Portuguese shot-stopper has started 18 matches in the Premier League this season, making 2.9 saves per game. Jose Sa is the first-choice goalkeeper for Wolves, and that is set to be the case for the remainder of the season.

RCB – Max Kilman

Max Kilman-Wolves

Wolves captain Max Kilman is one of the first names on the teamsheet, and he will continue to be at the heart of O’Neil’s backline for the rest of the campaign.

The 26-year-old has played in every game this season for his side, providing leadership and calmness to the team, both in and out of possession.

CB – Craig Dawson


The 33-year-old defender is a rock in the middle of the back three, providing the side with a no-nonsense approach to defending.

Craig Dawson has played every Premier League game he’s been available for this season, and he opened his account for the season recently against Everton.


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LCB – Toti Gomes


Toti Gomes has worked his way into the side this season after failing to earn a spot straight away in August. The left-footed defender loves to defend, using his athleticism to nullify opposition wingers.

The Portuguese star will continue to be deployed as the left-centre-back after the January window.

RM – Nelson Semedo


Nelson Semedo keeps his spot in his usual wide-right role, operating up and down the flank to provide support defensively and offensively.

The 30-year-old has started all but one game in the league this season, keeping Matt Doherty out of the side.

CM – Pablo Rosario


The first new name in the Wolves XI is Pablo Rosario of French side Nice.

According to the reports, Wolves are monitoring the midfielder and have been watching him over the last few months, while he has been helping his side climb up to second in Ligue 1.

His addition in the side means that Joao Gomes could potentially drop out entirely, which is the case due to reports via the Evening Standard stating that the 22-year-old is piquing the interest of Spurs this window. However, the Dutch star would have big boots to fill in the middle of the park.

CM – Mario Lemina


Mario Lemina is the powerhouse in the midfield, providing physicality and an immense work rate. He ensures security out of possession by making the second-highest number of tackles in the side, 2.5.

The Gabon international has started 17 matches in the Premier League while also becoming a threat in the final third, as shown by his four goals already, the third most in the Wolves squad.

LM – Rayan Ait Nouri

Matt Doherty and Rayan Ait-Nouri

Just like Semedo on the opposite flank, 22-year-old Rayan Ait Nouri provides an endless amount of energy down the left-hand side.

The Algerian has nailed down the role as the left midfielder/wing-back, playing in 17 of the 20 Premier League matches played so far. He’s also a threat going forward and has the third-highest number of successful dribbles per game in the team, 1.8.

RF – Matheus Cunha


Matheus Cunha has been one of Wolves’ most influential players this campaign, starting every game, scoring six goals, and providing five assists.

The Brazilian is a handful, as he has the most shots per game in the Wolves team and the most successful dribbles.

The 24-year-old has featured mainly as a left, inverted forward where he can avoid being isolated and pick up the ball on the half turn, but with the next addition in the side, he may be forced over to the right.

LF – Jack Clarke


The second potential new signing to feature in the starting XI is Jack Clarke of Championship side Sunderland, with Wolves interested in the ace as per the Northern Echo.

The tricky winger is the heartbeat and goal-scoring outlet of his side, as he has netted 13 goals in 27 matches this season, which is the fourth most in the entire league. Clarke is a traditional direct attacker who can carry the ball brilliantly and glide past opponents, as highlighted by the above statistics being in the top 1% of wingers in the second division according to FBref.

Pablo Sarabia is the player who would make way for the 23-year-old in the side, and in truth, Clarke would be an upgrade on the Spaniard, who could potentially be on his way back to Spain due to interest from Real Sociedad, as per news outlet AS.

ST – Hugo Ekitike

Hugo Ekitike celebrates for PSG

The final potential acquisition who would complete a new-look Wolves attack is Hugo Ekitike of PSG.

He is arguably the most talked-about transfer regarding the Midlands club this month, and according to reports in Germany, the 21-year-old is willing to leave the French giant to find game time, with Wolves making the first move to sign him as per L’Equipe in France.

Ekitike – infamously dubbed “the next Mbappe” by journalist Graeme Bailey – has played just nine minutes all season, which has prevented his true potential from flourishing. His best season was at Reims in 2020/21, where he netted ten goals in just 15 starts. However, he would have to hit the ground running in England and shake off the cobwebs.

Hwang Hee-chan, Wolves’ top scorer with 11 goals this season could be the individual to drop out of the side as a result of interest from Spurs and Liverpool earlier this month, as per Football Insider.

Wolves’ dream starting XI in full: GK- Sa, RCB – Kilman, CB – Dawson, LCB – Toti Gomes, RM – Semedo, CM – Rosario, CM – Lemina, LM – Ait Nouri, RF – Cunha, LF – Clarke, ST – Ekitike.

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