Wolves Loanees – How did they get on?

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Plenty of players spent the season out on loan playing in many different leagues of all levels gaining promotion, missing out on promotion, avoiding the drop, getting relegated, placing midtable and so on with their respective teams.

Those players being:

 

Goalkeepers: Matija Sarkic and Jamie Pardington

Defenders: Toti Gomes, Oskar Buur, Ryan Giles, Luke Matheson, Dion Sanderson and Rùben Vinagre

Midfielders: Christian Herc, Bruno Jordão, Connor Ronan and Meritan Shabani

Strikers: Lèo Bonatini, Leonardo Campana, Patrick Cutrone, Rafa Mir and Dongda He.

 

Here is how they got on this season:

Matija Sarkic

Age: 23

Position: GK

 On loan at: Shrewsbury Town (League One)

Games played: 29

Clean sheets: 11

Goals conceded: 28

Despite some injury troubles that he suffered at the start and the end of the season (knee and quad injury respectively) Sarkic, managed to play a total of 29 games and keep a modest 11 clean sheets with Shrewsbury Town that placed 17th in League One, avoiding the drop to League Two by 7 points with a goal difference of -7. The Vocal Montenegrin shot stopper that can command his area quite well received many plaudits while at Salop, his performances alone earned various points for the club, and you have got to think that if he had a full season without any injuries, he could have helped the team achieve a higher position in the League. A very promising player to keep an eye out for, it will definitely be interesting to see how much Wolves value him and what they will decide to do with him. With all the rumours surrounding the 2 first choice keepers, is another loan on the horizon or will he take up a place in the team as the 3rd or 2nd choice Goalkeeper? We will just have to wait and see.

 

Toti Gomes

Age: 22

Position: Defender (CB)

On loan at: Grasshoppers (Challenge League)

Games played: 36

Goals: 2

Toti Gomes has been key in Grasshoppers promotion to the Swiss Super League, the Portuguese defender played 36 times and was the outfield player with the most minutes (3094 minutes). Gomes did not have any troubles adapting to Swiss Football at all, he has been regarded by many Grasshoppers fans as one of the best defenders and players at the club and league this season. Without him and his performances, promotion to the top of Swiss football probably would not have been achieved. The tall, quick, and strong defender has had a great season in Switzerland but he did make some mistakes at the end of the season, the best thing for him next season would be another year at Grasshoppers to see how he does in the top league, then you can work from there and see what the next step will be. A good investment overall.

 

 

Ryan Giles 

Age: 21

Position: Defender (LWB/LM)

On loan at: Coventry City until January, Rotherham (Championship)

Games played: 44

Goals: 2

Assist: 1

In the end, Rotherham weren’t able to avoid relegation they just didn’t have enough in them and missed out on safety by 2 points. Nonetheless, Ryan Giles had a decent overall season in the Championship with Coventry (in the first half of the season) and Rotherham (in the second half of the season). To get 44 games under your belt at any level is great, especially in the Championship. That many games and minutes can only have done him good. Not to be forgotten is that this was his first year playing in the 2nd tier and the step up he made from the previous season. All this at 21 years of age is a good feat and a good experience for him. Aside from the number of games played, the former England U20 international got a total of 3 goal contributions, it doesn’t sound great, but he did show promise, he was good with the ball, had quick footwork and a good crosser of the ball. There is definitely potential and room for improvement in him, another loan in the Championship where he can get regular gametime is what would be best for him, or do you think he should be at Wolves next season because “Is Rayan Ait-Nouri for 20 million better than Giles?”.

Dion Sanderson

Age: 21

Position: Defender (CB/RB)

On loan at: Sunderland (League One)

Games played: 27

Goals: 1

Dion Sanderson got off to a slow start at Sunderland, he didn’t get regular game time at the Stadium of Light until Lee Johnson took charge. He only managed a few games here and there, but as the season progressed he made the CB position his own at the Black Cats. He had an extended run of 18 games in the team with him playing the full 90 minutes in 14 of those games, he would have played even more games if he hadn’t suffered a back injury that kept him out for the final and decisive games of the season. His performances were good and he got praise from many Sunderland fans, so much that he won the Young Player of the Season. Following his performances and with just one year left on his deal many teams are interested in him, a move away from Wolves seems the most likely option for all parties if a new deal isn’t agreed.

 

Rùben Vinagre 

Age: 21

Position: Defender (LB)

On loan at: Olympiacos until January (Greek Super League), Famalicao (Liga NOS)

Games played: 27

Assist: 3

The Portuguese LB had a very poor first half of the season. He started off at Wolves making 3 appearances in old gold, but it was evident he was not good enough, so he was sent out on loan to Olympiacos. His poor form continued there as well so Wolves then sent him out on loan to Famalicao back in his homeland. He got back on track while at the Liga NOS side, playing a total of 20 games and picking up 3 assists in the meantime. Despite his form, and with the arrival of Bruno Lage his time at the club still looks to be numbered. He doesn’t have a place in the team and isn’t good enough at this time and moment but with his current form he could bring in a good sum of cash of around 10-15 million, Benfica and Sporting seem to be the two teams most interested in his signature.

 

Bruno Jordão

Age: 22

Position: Midfielder (CM)

On loan at: Famalicao (Liga NOS)

Games played: 11

Goals: 1

Assist: 1

Jordao’s season was hindered by a long-term injury that he suffered at the beginning of January and kept him out for the rest of the season. Before injury, the Portuguese midfielder featured 11 times and grabbed 1 goal (which was awarded the September/October goal of the month) and 1 assist. A shame for Jordao as he wasn’t able to display his qualities and has now fallen down the pecking order. Pre-season at Wolves and another year out on loan seems the best option for him and the club.

 

Connor Ronan

Age: 22

Position: Midfielder (CM)

On loan at: Grasshoppers (Challenge League)

Games played: 32

Goals: 1

Assist: 3

 An overall good season for Ronan but also slightly unfortunate, he joined Grasshoppers and immediately picked up an injury that kept him out of their pre-season and first two games. Once he recovered, he had to fight for a place in the team, which he did really well, becoming a regular face in the team and helping the Swiss side to promotion. In his time at the club the former Ireland U21 international showed great mentality and determination, always running and fighting for every ball. He managed to reach the consistency that he was lacking in the first half of the season and although he only got 4 goal contributions, his passing and crossing was very good. The only weaknesses were duels and headers due to his stature. Unfortunately for him though, the season ended two games early as he suffered a metatarsal fracture. Hard to predict what we will do with him, one thing for sure is that he will be at Wolves recovering from injury, when he recovers who knows? Maybe another loan, because Wolves must see something in him as they have kept and persisted with him for quite a long time now.

 

Lèo Bonatini

Age: 26

Position: Striker (ST)

On loan at: Grasshoppers (Challenge League)

Games played: 33

Goals: 13

Assist: 2

A very bad start to life in Switzerland for Bonatini, hardly any goals in the first half of the season and didn’t seem to be enjoying it at all, or more than anything not wanting to be there. His luck changed in the second half of the season once he found his scoring boots, and he seemed to be more motivated. He contributed to 15 goals in total with 13 goals and 2 assists. He started off as a massive flop and disappointment in Zurich but ended up being instrumental by pushing Grasshoppers to promotion as the club’s top scorer and the fans seemed to finally appreciate him too. There’s no doubt where he will be next year, he will be playing in the Swiss Super League with Grasshoppers as he was signed on a two year loan deal.

 

Rafa Mir 

Age: 23

Position: Striker (ST)

On loan at: Huesca (La Liga)

Games played: 39

Goals: 16 (two hat-tricks one in La Liga and the other in the Copa del Rey)

Assist: 1

Wolves most prolific player with 16 goals, Rafa Mir, spent the season out on loan in La Liga with Huesca. The Spanish side that sat in 20th position for the majority of the season moved up the table thanks to his goals but they weren’t enough to ensure them safety as they finished 18th, 2 points away from 17th placed Elche. The former U21 Spain international was clearly the best out of the Wolves players out on loan and he didn’t go unnoticed, many teams in Spain have shown interest in him and some Wolves fans think he should be given the chance to come back and play with us. It seems unlikely this will be the case as he is entering the last year of his contract and Wolves seem willing to cash in on him or even use him as a makeweight for a possible swap deal. Signed for 1 million, you have got to say this has been good business from the club as they will be getting double that amount in the event of his sale.

 

Other players out on loan:

Patrick Cutrone

Games: 24

Assist: 1

Where do you start off, it has definitely been a shocker and a season to forget for Cutrone, 24 games in total with Fiorentina, Wolves and Valencia and no goals. Left Fiorentina for the lack of game time and played 4 times at Wolves before moving back out on loan to Valencia where he encountered the same problem he had at Fiorentina.  Possibly one of the worst signings under the Fosun reign, they will be lucky to get back the same amount they paid for him if they wish to sell him.

 

Oskar Buur

Games: 11

Sent out on an 18 month loan deal to partner club Grasshoppers and in the half a season he was there he played 11 times, his time at the club was interrupted by various injuries and when he did play he wasn’t anything special. Oskar Buur will be spending the next season on loan with Grasshoppers in the Swiss Super League along with Leo Bonatini.

 

Meritan Shabani

Games 7

Goals: 1

A promising start on loan with Dutch side VVV-Venlo, scoring on his debut to send the club into the Semi-Finals of the Dutch cup and some decent cameos for him. This could have been the big breakthrough for him having recovered from his ACL injury and having done well in Wolves u23s before his loan move, but unfortunately he suffered another injury that kept him out of action for the rest of the season.

 

Leonardo Campana

Games:10

Goals: 2

Assist: 1

The Ecuadorian internationals time in Portugal at Famalicao with fellow Wolves men Jordao and Vinagre was ultimately hindered by a muscle and a hamstring injury. He only featured in spells, getting the odd minute here and there. In his limited playing time, he did manage to grab 2 goals and 1 assist. At just 20 years of age the best option for him will be another season out on loan.

 

Christian Herc

Games: 32

Goals: 7

Assist: 1

The forgotten Slovakian midfielder spent the season out on loan at Czech side MFK Karvina, where he played 32 times and contributed to 8 goals. A decent season as one of the key players after an unsuccessful time at Viktoria Plzen the previous season.

 

Luke Matheson

Games: 2

His time out on loan with Ipswich didn’t last very long as he played 2 games and got injured shortly after. Following the injury, the loan was cancelled and Matheson returned to Wolves where he would recover and eventually feature for the U23s.

Jamie Pardington

The 20-year-old shot stopper spent time out on loan with Dulwich Hamlet and League Two side Mansfield Town, where he got his first taste of action in men’s football.

Dongda He

Games: 3 

The 19 year old Chinese striker from the U23s has been sent out on loan to Chinese Super League side, Beijing Guoan, where he has made 3 appearances from the bench.

 

Most surprising player – Rafa Mir

Nobody would’ve expected much at all from the 23 year old Spaniard at the beginning of the season, an unsuccessful time in England, first year playing in a top division and only playing with newly promoted Huesca. In the end, he defined the odds and surprised many fans, netting 16 times in total, attracting interest from many sides.

 

Most disappointing player – Patrick Cutrone

No goals in 24 games, I think that says it all!

The Italian didn’t manage to get a single goal at any of the 3 clubs he played with this season, he was never a regular and fell out of favour with the managers at basically all clubs this season. The only place where the 23 year old has done well is with the Italian U21 side at the Uefa U21 Championships where he got 4 goal contributions in 4 games (3 goals 1 assist).

Most unfortunate players

Bruno Jordao

A season back in his homeland with Famalicao where he would be able to get regular gametime and thrive, what could go wrong? He got off to a decent start, getting regular gametime, scoring and assisting once, won the September/October goal of the month and then a long- term injury struck and kept him out for the season.

Meritan Shabani

A good start to life in the Netherlands for Shabani but it wasn’t to be for the German midfielder. As stated before, it could have been his breakthrough but unfortunately he received a major blow because of injury.

 

This time around there were 17 players out on loan and as you can see, they all had varying levels of success over the season. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop and mature this time next year.

 

Stats and numbers accurate as of 14/06/2021.

 

Matthew Gentile is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.