Wolves Transfer Targets: Saša Kalajdžić

When the summer transfer window opened it was clear that Wolves needed a new striker to compete with Raúl Jiménez and Fábio Silva, both of whom struggled in the 2021/22 season. When Silva was subsequently loaned out to Anderlecht, the need became even more urgent. So, when it was reported with just days left of the window, that Wolves had agreed a fee of around €18 million (£15.4m) with VfB Stuttgart for the signing of Saša Kalajdžić, there was a collective sigh of relief throughout Wolverhampton. But who is the Austrian forward, and can he bring some much-needed goals to the Molineux?

Who is Saša Kalajdžić?

Saša Kalajdžić is a 25-year-old Austrian international who began his career with Austrian clubs SR Donaufeld Wien and Admira Wacker Mödling, before joining Stuttgart in 2019. He is of Bosnian Serb descent, having been born in Austria to parents who were refugees of the Bosnian War. Having played a notable role in keeping Die Schwaben in the Bundesliga last season, he has previously been linked with moves to the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United earlier in the summer. His 6 ft 7 in height and slender build has drawn comparisons to former England striker Peter Crouch. He is much more than simply a target in the box however, as Stuttgart journalist Simeon Kramer told TW’s Dave Azzopardi: “In Austria he used to play in attacking midfield… he has a good first touch, and he knows how to play with the players around him”.

What is Saša Kalajdžić’s style of play?

The Austrian brings with him strong goalscoring pedigree, boasting an impressive record of 22 goals in 51 Bundesliga appearances. His height and physicality in the box make him a good fit alongside wingers like Pedro Neto and Adama Traore, who regularly look to drive to the by-line and cross the ball into dangerous areas. Naturally, Kalajdžić’s stature will also provide a major boost to Wolves’ threat from set pieces. Last season the team recorded the second least shots from set pieces in the league according to The Analyst, indicating a lack of a consistent option from corners and free kicks. As the tallest outfield player in the Premier League, the Austria international will immediately provide a significant upgrade in this capacity – whether by winning headers himself, or by occupying defenders and allowing other players like Max Kilman and Nathan Collins to get open opportunities. According to FBref, Kalajdžić last season won 6 aerial duels a game with a success rate of 59% a game – both among the most impressive marks in the Bundesliga.

However, the Austrian’s skillset is far from limited to winning headers. Over the last two seasons he has proven to be one of Europe’s most adept strikers at holding up the ball and creating chances for his teammates His frame not only makes him a danger in the box, but also allows him to shield the ball effectively from defenders. As Simeon Kramer put it: “It’s very difficult for a defender to get the ball from him… He’s nearly unstoppable”.

How will he fit with the team?

Goal-scoring wingers like Neto and Gonçalo Guedes could thrive with Kalajdžić acting as a focal point and bringing them into play. In 21/22 he recorded an expected assists stat of 0.26 per game, along with 1.47 key passes – once again among the highest marks for Bundesliga strikers. His abilities in hold-up play make him similar in this aspect to Jiménez, meaning Kalajdžić should fit comfortably in with a team which knows how to work around a player with his playstyle. He is more than willing to get involved in build-up play, as Simeon Kramer explained: “He will come back to midfield often to get the ball and launch an attack himself”.

The one notable concern to mention when it comes to the Austrian is fitness. The forward played just 15 times in the Bundesliga last season, although he impressed whenever he was on the pitch. However, the season prior he featured in 33 out of a possible 34 league outings, so Wolves fans have reason to hope that with a full pre-season of recovery, Kalajdžić is back to full fitness and ready to put last season’s struggles behind him.


You can keep up to date with all the Wolves rumours as they happen over on the Talking Wolves Twitter.


Matheus Nunes – A complete guide to Wolves’ club record signing

Wolves have smashed their club record fee with the sensational signing of Matheus Nunes from Sporting Clube de Portugal for a fee reportedly in the region of £38million.

Nunes has signed a 5-year deal at the club taking his contract to 2027.

This move signifies Fosun’s intent to back Bruno Lage in the summer market, with a centre-forward still said to be on the transfer targets list.

He becomes Wolves’ new summer addition after Nathan Collins and Gonçalo Guedes.

It has been well documented that Wolves have been in for Nunes for the majority of the summer, with Lage seeing him as a key figure for his rebuild of the side.

Let’s take a look at what the Portuguese International can bring to Wolves:

The Story So Far

Nunes was originally born in Rio de Janeiro but moved to Lisbon at the age of 12.

He began playing for his local side Ericeirense (who are due around £1million from this move) and impressed enough to sign for professional side Estoril in the summer of 2018, this was also the previous club of fellow countryman Chiquinho.

Nunes made his debut for Estoril in October 2018 and was predominantly played in the reserve side.

After impressing against them in the Taça de Portugal, Sporting CP then picked him up from Estoril for a fee of just over £850,000 – this was only six months after he signed for Estoril. This fee covered half of his economic rights and the contract included a 45m Euro release clause. He went on to play 32 times for Sporting’s U23s, scoring 3 goals and collecting 3 assists.

Sporting manager Ruben Amorim took a liking to Nunes thanks to his impressive performances in the youth ranks and handed him his debut in June 2020. He received more consistent appearances towards the end of the 2019/20 season and made his big breakthrough the following campaign.

In the 2020/21 season, he played over 1,250 minutes for the Sporting first team as they went on to win their first league title since 2002. Nunes proved to be a pivotal part of Amorim’s 3-4-3 system, playing 31 times in the league, and carried that momentum on into the 2021/22 season.

Last season he played 50 times in all competitions for Sporting and impressed further in the Primeira Liga as well as the Champions League.

In total, Nunes played 101 games for Sporting, garnering eight goals and nine assists and building a reputation as one of Portugal’s most promising midfielders.

After a 5-0 defeat against Manchester City in February, Pep Guardiola dubbed him “one of the best players in the world”. Very high praise for someone who knows all about coaching the top central midfielders.


Nunes was the subject of much speculation this summer with reports having suggested he rejected deals from both Wolves and West Ham United alongside linked interest from Manchester City and Liverpool. However, despite wanting to hold out for Champions League football, Nunes was convinced to join Bruno Lage’s project and now finds himself in Little Portugal’s Wolverhampton base.

The Tactical Side

Nunes offers something that Wolves fans have been crying out for for several years, and that is a progressive midfielder.

Not only does he fit the profile of what Wolves need, but he’s also one of the best in Europe at what he does.

He’s played the majority of his career at central midfield having been used in 71 games in that position. However, according to transfermarkt, he has also dabbled in defensive midfield and attacking midfield duties.


This blend of positions makes him the ideal box-to-box midfielder for Wolves as he is able to cover several key characteristics.

His passing can be hit and miss due to a preference for trying riskier passes, but in terms of a short-range passer, he is proficient.

Questions remain as to whether he can adapt to the physicality of the Premier League due to his slighter frame, however, his dribbling and carrying numbers are exceptional.


He also boasts fantastic percentiles when it comes to through balls, which suggests he will be a player that will frequently be able to bridge the gap between the midfield and the attack.

Despite his height, he provides agility and superb technical ability to turn away from pressing opponents. When it comes to press-resistant midfielders, he’s up there with the best.

According to FBRef, he is also in the top one percent for dribbles completed. This will aid Wolves’ speed in transition but also offer them an outlet should they need to bypass a high press.

With the eye test, it is clear to see he is adept with the ball at his feet, and whilst his passing may need touching up, Wolves have other players that can replace that missing passing range.

Taking a look at the stats below, beautifully formatted by Breaking the Lines, we can see the empirical data that supports this. His short and medium pass completion mixed with his passes under pressure denotes that he is a midfielder that will be able to break the line with quicker passes into free space, whilst being able to do it under pressure.

With pressing being something Wolves’ midfield and defence has struggled to cope with, Nunes offers us a perfect player to keep the ball and find space where he can impact games on the front foot.



Whilst Ruben Neves offers the passing range from deep that Nunes does not, Nunes offers the mobility and dynamism that Neves lacks. In essence, they are the perfect complimentary midfield partnership. With Wolves potentially switching to a 4-3-3, putting Joao Moutinho into the mix with his ball recovery and metronome-like passing makes for one of the league’s best and most complete midfields.

With this signing, Wolves have every key characteristic covered, not to mention excellent leadership qualities and experience at the highest level.

You can view more tactical analysis using the video below:


The Expert View


We spoke to Alex Brice, founder of Football Wonderkids, to give to us some more insight into Nunes:

“Matheus, for me in the Primeira Liga, is the player who gives the most guarantees.

“This is a player that can play at the six role, that can play in the eight role, and if he has to, he can be the one making the final pass. 

“In my opinion, this is a stepping stone for Matheus. You guys will easily double (your money) with him.”

In regards to his main qualities, Alex said:

“Definitely expect one of the best box-to-box midfielders straight off the bat. He’s perfect for the Premier League. 

“I’m so surprised you guys got him. Wolves fans, be happy about this one. It’s such a good deal. 

“He’ll have an instant impact. You should expect a player that could be playing for Liverpool and add quality (to the Liverpool midfield)”

On Nunes’ career so far, Alex explained:

“The biggest loser here is Ruben Amorim. Matheus won’t be (happy) either, it’s not that he doesn’t want to go to Wolves, going to the Prem is a big opportunity for him, but he loves the core at Sporting. 

“He was working at a cafe four or five years ago and now he’s going to the Prem. It’s a ‘started from the bottom’ type story.

“Mentally he is a very strong person because he went from rags to riches, and I really value those types of people.”

Discussing the reception from Portuguese fans, Alex said:

“Honestly Portuguese fans love it because the fact of the matter is Portugal wants to see Portuguese people do well outside (overseas). 

“Seeing people succeed in England at Wolves in the Premier League, the best league in the world, we all accept there’s a lot movement in Portugal.”

With an away game coming up fast this weekend against Tottenham, Wolves will be hoping their new star man will be in full viewing for his Premier League debut. With the rebuild under Lage picking up pace, this truly does feel like a signing which could propel Wolves back into the picture for European qualification.


You can keep up to date with all the Wolves rumours as they happen over on the Talking Wolves Twitter.




Gonçalo Guedes – The lowdown on Wolves’ marquee summer signing

Wolves have announced their biggest summer signing since their first window after promotion with the arrival of 25-year-old Portugal international Gonçalo Guedes from Spanish side Valencia, in a deal thought to be worth around £27.5million.

Guedes is Wolves’ second summer recruit after the acquisition of Nathan Collins from Burnley for a reported £20.5million.

Bruno Lage was keen to reassure fans in his post-match press conference on Saturday that the club had been ‘talking with players’ and that any stress the supporters may have had would be quelled soon enough.

Soon really was the case as hours after Wolves’ 2-1 season-opening defeat at Leeds, strong links came out from Spain reporting that a deal had been struck between Valencia and an unnamed Premier League side. That side turned out to be Wolves as reliable journalists such as Héctor Gómez and Fabrizio Romano confirmed the club’s interest and offer. The rest, as we say, is history.

Guedes has signed a five year deal at Molineux.

Let us take a look at what Guedes can offer and his career up to this point so far:


The Story So Far

Guedes began his career at Portuguese giants Benfica, after impressing for Benfica’s B team ( 11 goals and 16 assists in 38 games) he was promoted into the first team squad. He played 67 games for the side, amassing the same goals and assists total that he had achieved with the B team.

This earnt him a big money move to PSG for a fee of around £27million in the summer of 2016. After playing 13 games for the Ligue 1 champions and only managing one assist in that time, he was moved on to Valencia the next summer.

Guedes spent 5 years at Valencia, originally joining them on loan in 2017. He started strongly in Spain, notching six goals and 11 assists in his debut campaign.

This prompted Los Che to splash out £36million on the Portuguese winger and he went on to be a crucial member of the first team. He played 177 times for the club, producing 36 goals and 30 assists.

Last season was a career-high in terms of goal contributions, registering an impressive 11 goals and six assists playing as a second striker alongside Maxi Gomez.

It is important to remember that these performances and numbers have been in an underperforming Valencia side who have had a myriad of off-the-field issues with chairman Peter Lim. The club has struggled financially and it is thought that this sale could help ease their debts as “they have to complete almost €40m worth of outgoing transfers just to meet this year’s budget.”

Guedes has been one of the shining lights in a stagnating Valencia side, and his impressive capture could mark the beginning of the club’s new rebuild under the guidance of Bruno Lage.


The Tactical Side

So where can Guedes fit into this Wolves side? Well, using Transfermarkt we can get a more in-depth idea as to where he might slot in.

The first note of importance is his ability to play across the frontline. As previously mentioned, he had an excellent campaign last season playing a more central role alongside Uruguayan forward Maxi Gómez. However, throughout his career, he has been primarily deployed at left wing.

Having played 104 games in this position, contributing 16 goals and 17 assists, it’s safe to say that this is his most favoured position and one which Wolves fans can expect him to play this campaign.

As we know though, he can play up top. His record as a second striker is comparatively far more potent, having registered 19 goals and 16 assists in 52 appearances. This suggests that Lage could switch to the 4-4-2 he used at Benfica, with Guedes supporting another centre-forward such as Jimenez.

As this is unlikely due to the preferred use of the 4-3-3 or the 4-2-3-1, it is most likely that ( if he were to play up top) he would be used as a lone striker that could interlink with Wolves’ three supporting attacking players.

Guedes has had slightly less success as a lone forward (10 goals and 11 assists in 34 games) but he does offer a viable option that could fit well into Wolves’ fluid front four system.

One thing to note is that throughout pre-season and against Leeds, our attacking players have not really used fixed positions and have roamed infield or swapped over to create a greater sense of fluidity and attacking dynamism. This could suit Guedes as a more potent option within that attacking unit.

According to statistics gathered by FBref, Guedes has consistently out-performed his expected goals and assists in his time at Valencia (in domestic competitions it must be said). In an isolated season, you could suggest it was simply pure luck, but this consistent defiance of the rules of numbers denotes that he is a more potent threat.


Guedes outperformed his xG and xA consistently at Valencia


Having a player that is clinical in front of goal is an asset that has been missing from Wolves’ current wingers despite their incredible ball-carrying and creative talent.

Alongside his more potent end product, Guedes also ranks highly for progressive passes, carries, and dribbles completed. As seen below, he hits the top five, seven and six percent respectively in these areas.



This shows us that he is adept on the ball and is someone that can drive Wolves up the pitch consistently. Whilst Wolves have players that are strong in this metric, having another option that can perform in this area is certainly no negative. His high percentage in progressive passes also shows that he does come with some excellent passing intelligence and a willingness to pass forwards into advanced areas.

Whilst his passing accuracy is not anything to shout about, when it comes to making risky passes the percentage is always lower. It is also worth noting Daniel Podence has similar passing percentages and he is considered Wolves’ best creative player, showing that numbers aren’t always as good as the trusted eye test.

Guedes also possesses good statistics when it comes to tackles and interceptions. Whilst his pressure numbers are low, we can see that he is a forward player capable of defending from the front and one that has the awareness to potentially nip in in front of defenders and win the ball back high up the pitch.

The Expert View

We spoke to some experts on Goncalo Guedes to get an idea of what sort of player and character he is and how he could make an impact on the Premier League this season:

Paco Polit – Spanish journalist:

“If I’m completely honest, I believe he has been carrying Valencia for the past two seasons, especially on the pure stats.

“I believe that both him and Carlos Soler have overall been outstanding in those two areas, especially as the team has lowered its overall level.

“Guedes had been a breakout star in that first season in Valencia. In that sense, he had to pick up the mantle from the big players that had left. Him, Soler and Gaya have been the three biggest players for Valencia.

“He is possibly one of the stars who didn’t play for Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid.”

On Guedes’ best position and profile, Polit explained:

“Most of the time he played as a left-winger, but with the freedom to make diagonal runs towards the centre of the attacking front, and be able to finish both inside the box, but also with mid and long-range shots which are quite powerful and consistent.

“Most of his best goals have been in that sense. He has the ability to score in many ways, but also he has modified the way he has played in the last few seasons. He started as a player for the left wing or the middle, in the last few months, he’s been a pure number nine. He’s been the main striker for Valencia. 

“He’s been consistently one of the players with the most fouls committed against him in the last five seasons, this means when he’s dribbling he’s a threat and 100% a menace. He hasn’t been protected much by the referees in Spain. 

“He needs to feel important in the starting lineup, I think that if you pay that money for Guedes it’s to place him straight into the lineup. If he doesn’t play, he might find himself outside that place where he is happy.”

In regards to the fee, Polit stated that he believed Wolves were getting good value for money:

“When Valencia had the option to buy, the price tag on Guedes was between 40-50m Euros. I believe today he is a much better player than he was four years ago. 

“I think his market value should be around 40m Euros or more, so I think Wolves are getting a good deal with the player.”

“So overall, Mendes has been crucial towards this transfer happening. I don’t know if Wolves are getting the best bargain price possible because I think that the negotiation has been pretty short.

“I think that in this case, Valencia have gotten the short end of the stick even after receiving those 32 plus three million euros.”

So the big question, how high can Guedes get in the English game?

“He’s an international player with Portugal. He has scored goals with them. He has worn number seven with Portugal like Cristiano Ronaldo.

“If he has a good season, he can easily be one of the top five news players in the league hands down, I’m totally positive on that one.”

Wolves have seemingly struck gold again with the help of super-agent Jorge Mendes. The controversial relationship between the club and the agent has offered Wolves another path to signing an internationally recognized player and for a decent price, whether Guedes will be a hit is yet to be seen but this marks a key signing in the new era at Wolves.