Willian Jose: Get the expert take on Wolves' latest signing

Wolves have signed Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose on-loan, with an option to buy - get to know the new man up top here.

Willian Jose
Willian Jose

We spoke with Matthew Clark from La Liga Lowdown, to get an expert take on the striker.

See what he had to say here...

What kind of player is Willian Jose?

Willian José is a classic forward in the number nine role, happy with the ball in the air, but is effective with the ball at his feet too.

A tall player, he is adept in aerial challenges, and scores plenty of headed goals. Operating mainly in and around the penalty area, he offers a strong focal point for his team as they look to build attacks, linking up with others, and he can finish off chances well too.

His goalscoring record is commendable if not outstanding. At 29 years old, he is perhaps just past his peak, but should still have some strong seasons ahead.

Wolves are obviously missing the presence of Raul Jimenez this season, do you think Jose offers the quality to fill his sizeable boots?

It is clear that Wolves have missed Jiménez significantly in recent weeks, and they haven't had anyone in their squad to fulfil the role that he has performed so impressively.

In my opinion, Willian José does tick that box. While not at the level that Jiménez has shown for Wolves, I believe he will prove a more than adequate solution to allow the Mexican to recover from that serious injury.

Having an aerial presence will aid Wolves’ wide players, who love to put crosses into the danger area.

Willian José will be in those areas that Jiménez usually occupies, and is a better finisher than the other attackers in the squad.

We've not seen him in the Premier League before, do you think he has what it takes to adapt to English football?

It is always a challenge to make a move abroad, especially in January, and the pandemic has exacerbated these difficulties. So for me, that initial adaptation will be the critical element.

In terms of his profile, I think he has the necessary attributes to succeed in the Premier League. He has scored goals at every club he has been at in Spain, from Real Zaragoza to Las Palmas to Real Sociedad, and has some Europa League experience too.

His record speaks well for him. 62 goals in 170 appearances at La Real is a decent return, and he has reached double figures in LaLiga in each of his last four full seasons, putting him in pretty exclusive company: Leo Messi, Luis Suárez and Iago Aspas are the only other players to achieve that particular feat.

He has featured less this campaign (13 La Liga apps), but still has scored three goals and created nine chances.

Watch Willian Jose in action here:

He has the capacity to score against the better teams too, with five against Barcelona and three apiece against Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

This season he also scored a crucial stoppage-time equaliser away in Naples to help Real Sociedad qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League. For me, this shows that he can adapt and succeed at different levels.

What are your thoughts on the deal, do you think it's one that works for all involved?

I think it's a very positive agreement for all parties.

Real Sociedad are free to move for a different type of attacker, with a potential transfer fee arriving in the summer. The player himself gets a new challenge and a move to England a year after a potential switch to Tottenham broke down.

Wolves improve their attack with a player to fulfil the Jiménez role. Even in a worst-case-scenario, Wolves are not committed to any purchase obligation, so it’s a pretty successful deal all round in my view.

Wolves have the option to purchase Jose permanently once his loan spell is over, do you think the reported price tag is reflective of his abilities?

I believe so. With the transfer market so hard to predict and with the impact of COVID affecting clubs everywhere, the reported €20m option looks to be good value.

For comparison, when Spurs were linked last year, the release clause was stated as €70m.

Of course, he will be 30 in November, and wouldn’t hold much sell-on value, but I don’t think you would get many proven goalscorers for much less than that option price.

Who would you say Willian Jose compares to in world football and why?

His style reminds me of a prime Diego Costa, but with a bit less aggression. Raúl Jiménez himself would be another similar player, as well as Arkadiusz Milik.

Another Premier League style forward that springs to mind is Olivier Giroud. These players all offer slightly different things, but in broad terms, that is they kind of profile Wolves are getting here.

In Nuno’s system, I believe he will thrive once he settles in.

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