Midfield maestro required: Four who could fill the gap for Wolves

As Wolves aim to improve the squad under Bruno Lage, central midfield is an area to address.

Wolverhampton Wanderers's Matt Doherty (left) and SC Braga's Joao Palhinha
Wolverhampton Wanderers's Matt Doherty (left) and SC Braga's Joao Palhinha

Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho have both been linked with moves away but, regardless, at least one new face would not go amiss.

More goals, more creativity and more bite are required in the middle of the park, and here are four suggestions for the all-important position.

Joao Palhinha

Joao Palhinha, SC Braga.

There is not thought to be anything concrete on this front at the minute, but Palhinha has been linked with Wolves as of late – as he was last year – and would appear to tick a few boxes.

The 25-year-old Portuguese’s stock has risen considerably in that time, helping Sporting Lisbon win the Primeira Liga title and, as a result, earning himself a spot in the Euros squad.

He came in on Portugal’s important clash with France on Wednesday night and caught the eye with his ability to break up play and pick out clever passes.

Holding midfielder Palhinha made 32 appearances in the league for Sporting last season, scoring once while picking up seven bookings – so is not afraid to mix things up.

Sevilla, Leicester and Everton are also rumoured to be interested in his services. It will be interesting to see what he does this summer.

Okay Yokuslu

Okay Yokuslu of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

Still on defensive midfielders, Yokuslu would perhaps be worth a look.

The 27-year-old was one of the bright sparks of a disappointing campaign for Wolves’ fierce rivals Albion last term – while on loan from Celta Vigo.

Snapped up in January, the Turkish international slotted in seamlessly and brought a new level of composure to the Baggies’ midfield.

He is strong, mobile, can pick out a pass and seems more suited to English football than in Spain. Yokuslu did not score in his time at The Hawthorns and would not be one to rely on in terms of goals, but rather someone to allow his midfield partner to surge further forward – safe in the knowledge they have someone behind them doing the dirty work.

A player who would not cost the earth, he has said that he wants to stay in the Premier League, too.

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley.

One of the many talented players who seemingly won’t be in Chelsea’s plans for next season, Barkley could maybe do with a new permanent home to reignite his career.

Having spent last term on loan at Villa, the former Everton youngster got off to a brilliant start but picked up a hamstring injury before Christmas and struggled from there, ending the season with three league goals to his name.

When fit and firing, Barkley does carry a genuine goal threat and can power past players – that ability to drive with the ball from midfield being something Wolves have lacked. At 27, he should be going into his peak years as well.

Wages would have the potential to be a stumbling block and his injury record is a concern, but Barkley has 33 England caps to his name and has won major trophies. He might be worth considering.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Fulham and Conor Gallagher of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

Also on the Blues’ books and seemingly in need of a fresh start is Loftus-Cheek.

Standing at 6ft 3in, the 25-year-old is another player who likes to run with the ball and make things happen.

Having risen through the ranks at Stamford Bridge, he is technically sound as well.

Last season did not exactly go to plan for him, getting relegated with Fulham and only chipping in with one league goal, but Loftus-Cheek has been a good source of goals before – coming up with 10 in 2018/19.

You would like to think he is eager to prove himself again in the top flight as well

If Wolves want to explore the domestic market, they could certainly do worse.

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