With Raul Jimenez likely to be out for most of the season, Wolves have moved to sign Brazilian striker Willian Jose (£7.0m) from Real Socieded on loan for the rest of the campaign.
Since losing Jimenez to injury, Wolves have looked a shadow of their former selves, and have slid down the league table at an alarming rate.
But will Jose, 29, be able to take on Jimenez’s role and score enough goals to turn their season around? After his cameo appearance against Chelsea, we have taken an in-depth look at the striker to find out.
Hoping to fill the boots of the Mexican, Jose arrives in the Black Country having established a decent name for himself in Spain.
Jose scored more than 10 goals in each of his last four full seasons in La Liga, for mid-table Sociedad.
After informing Sociedad of his desire to leave, he appeared to be close to a move to Spurs last season, only for the two clubs to fail to agree a fee.
He had scored six goals in all competitions this season before making the loan move, where he is expected to compete with teenager Fabio Silva (£5.2m) for a starting place.
When asked what Jose will bring to the side, boss Nuno Espirito Santo said:
“Talent, quality, experience. He’s a very good player that can be a big help for the team now. First, we have to see how he is, but he’s been competing since the beginning of the season.
“One week ago he played the full game, so in terms of fitness, he’s ready and it’s a matter of integrating him into the philosophy of the team, the ideas, being available is a moment for us to decided when is the appropriate situation.”
“He’s a different player to what we already have. He has experience, he links well, he’s a finisher, a goalscorer, so inside the options we have, I think he can really help the team, especially with the absence of Raul (Jimenez).”
Nuno Espirito Santo
There are no signs of anyone jumping on a Jose bandwagon just yet, but should we be considering him for our teams?
Jose’s playing style has been likened to former Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
With Wolves missing the physical presence of Jimenez up front, it is hoped Jose will add an extra dimension to their play.
Speaking to the Express & Star, Matthew Clark from La Liga Lowdown described Jose as an out-and-out centre forward.
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.
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.
Ironically, Wolves were said to be one of the teams offered Diego Costa in the January transfer window, only to choose Jose instead.
If he can replicate the Spanish international’s Premier League record of 52 Premier League goals, then Wolves will have found themselves a bargain.
One of the reasons for Wolves’ dip in form can be seen in their attacking stats.
Their previous style of attacking play revolved around pacy wingers putting in crosses for Jimenez.
And judging by the numbers, Wolves are still playing the same way, even without an aerial threat in the box.
Pedro Neto (£5.9m), who has arguable been Wolves’ best player this season, has put in the highest amount of crosses in the league this season.
And although the amount of crosses put in by the rest of Wolves’ midfield are far lower than Neto’s there is still a decent amount of balls being put into the box.
With Nuno recently reverting to a back three formation as well, you’d think that Ruben Semedo (£5.3m) and Rayan Ait Nouri’s (£5.0m) numbers will rise rapidly.
It appears all set for Jose to enter a system that plays perfectly to his strengths, with him having a good amount of crosses to attack every game.
A WORD OF WARNING
With Wolves struggling at both ends of the pitch, you would assume Jose would walk straight into the team, especially after featuring as a substitute as early as Wednesday evening.
This season, Wolves have the sixth worst attack in the league, and have a worse expected goals rating (xG) than relegation contenders Sheffield United and Fulham.
But Jose may not find a clear way to go straight into the team if Nuno’s recent quotes are anything to read into.
Fabio Silva, 18, arrived at Wolves in the summer for around £35million and while big things are not expected of him just yet, you would expect the club hierarchy to want to see some progress.
Speaking of the young forward, Nuno said:
“In Wolves’ present, he’s a big part. I don’t recall one moment where Fabio was not ready to improve, to listen, to help. The way the boy works on the pitch, it’s amazing. We are pleased with that.
“We didn’t expect to have so many youth players at the same time, but we are. Fabio is not for the future, he’s for the present. He’s working really, really hard for the team.”
Nuno Espirito Santo
So it appears Jose could have to share playing time with Silva as the season goes on.
The presence of Fabio Silva and a £7.0m price tag is likely to put off most FPL managers until Jose can nail down a starting place for a good run of games.
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