Where do Wolves need to strengthen in January?

Tom Murray

Tom Murray

January transfer windows can be especially challenging for teams looking to strengthen, as few sides want to sell their best players. If a player is surplus to requirements, there is often a good reason for that, whether that be form, fitness or attitude. 

However, with the 2023-24 reporting period for FFP concluding in March, some clubs will look to balance the books, and often all it takes is one transfer to create a snowball of movement across the leagues. 

With that in mind, we look at where Wolves might want to do business this month, and where they might defer to the summer. 



A duo of Jose Sa and Dan Bentley may not inspire the most confidence in fans, but with a small budget (according to Sky reporter, Johnny Phillips), this feels less pressing than other positions. Although Sa is prone to baffling decision-making, he is otherwise a relatively safe pair of hands for a mid-table side. Moreover, upsetting a reasonably stable defence might not be wise mid-season. 



Rayan Ait-Nouri has left for the African Cup of Nations and potentially misses several games with his impressive Algerian national team. However, between Hugo Bueno and Toti Gomes, there is adequate cover at left back.

At centre-back, Craig Dawson, Max Kilman and Santi Bueno represent three robust options, and we know that Toti can slot in there too. Long-term, we will need a Dawson replacement, who will not last forever, and the rumour mill is awash linking Kilman with moves. Unless there is a serious injury or departure, a CB signing can wait until summer. 

Right back is Nelson Semedo’s spot, and well-earned. However, with Matt Doherty as the one cover, I wouldn’t rule out Wolves being open to a young deputy for Semedo in the market, if the right deal arose. 



Despite losing Boubacar Traore to the AFCON, Wolves have a lot of central or holding options between Mario Lemina, Jean-Ricner, Joao Gomes, Joe Hodge and Tommy Doyle. The partnership of Lemina and Gomes in particular has looked really robust this season. 

In the more advanced positions, Pablo Sarabia and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde have both impressed, and our recent goal-scoring suggests that our creativity is not a major issue. Sarabia will not be with us forever, but that is perhaps a consideration for the summer. 

It is in wide positions that Wolves feel a lack of depth. There is overlap here with the forwards, but losing the prolific Hee-Chan Hwang to the Asian Cup may need addressing. Hwang, who is probably best suited off a central striker has been shunted out wide to cover our lack of options, as has Ait-Nouri. 

With Pedro Neto as the only genuine wide man, there is a lot of pressure on a player returning from injury. Gary O’Neil has already highlighted the need for support in this area, and Wolves will likely be in the market to create a more balanced forward line. They will also be mindful that Neto will have a number of suitors in the summer, and may want to blood his replacement early. 



Fabio Silva has gone on loan to Rangers and Sasa Kalajdzic to Eintracht Frankfurt for the reason for the season. That just leaves the impressive Matheus Cunha to lead the line. O’Neil has been vocal that Cunha is not a true number 9 and would flourish in a freer role. Again, the rumour mill has linked us with a lot of traditional number 9s who would ease Cunha’ burden and free him up in a more supportive role. 

However, getting a prolific striker in January on a limited budget can be a real challenge. Even with the best will in the world from Messrs. O’Neil, Shi and Hobbs, the right option might not emerge in this window. Recent form might mean that the board will be more sanguine about this possibility, and sustainable financial practice is unlikely to be shucked in a panic over this.