Julen Lopetegui has expressed his concern over Wolves Summer investment plans due to the restrictions of FFP. Reports indicate that Wolves posted a £46.1 million deficit in their last financial results in an environment where Premier League clubs are only allowed to record £105 million of losses in a three-year period. So we took a look at the young talent already at Wolves to see if they can make it into the squad for next season.
Joe Hodge - Central Midfield
Joe Hodge will be trying to secure a spot in Lopetegui’s squad for the upcoming campaign after losing out to the signings of Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes in January. Hodge has already spent time with the first team this season.
A midfield position may become available for the 20-year-old, who played in Lopetegui’s first two games in charge, since Ruben Neves is expected to leave this summer and Joao Moutinho’s departure is confirmed,
Hodge, who often plays as a centre-midfielder, had some potential when playing with the senior team. Had Lemina and Gomes not been acquired in the winter, Hodge would have been able to stake a claim to a regular spot on the team sheet.
Hodge will also be aware that the upcoming season may mark a turning point in his chances of having a successful Premier League career, he will be hoping that he can impress Lopetegui and become a regular part of the squad.
Lopetegui on Joe Hodge:
“He has a very strong mentality. I like this player and I think he will develop more as a player, because he’s ready to fight and ready to stay in the bad and good moments.
“He’s a good example for the other young players here.”
Dexter Lembikisa - Right Back
Dexter Lembikisa performed admirably in his 22 minutes of Premier League appearance during Wolves’ 2-0 loss to Arsenal in November, another player who has seen some first-team action this season.
The right-back is incredibly quick, has the ability to shut down opposing wingers, and can carry an attacking threat of his own in the last third of the play.
And the 19-year-old, who won three caps for Jamaica throughout the March break, has already made his debut on the international stage.
As Nelson Semedo and Jonny Castro Otto’s contracts are set to expire in 2025, Lopetegui may have a berth at right-back available for competition next season.
Dexter signed a news contract in January 23 on a three and a half year deal. Although he has caught the eye of Lopetegui it is most likely Wolves will want to loan him out again with Burton Albion and Port Vale both keen.
Nathan Fraser - Striker
Nathan Fraser, who is just 18 years old, is earlier in his development than Hodge and Lembikisa.
Even so, the futures of Diego Costa, Raul Jimenez, Sasa Kalajdzic, and Fabio Silva are uncertain, thus the centre-forward may be given a spot in Lopetegui’s squad next season.
This summer, Costa’s contract is up, Jimenez is expected to go, and it’s unclear how Kalajdzic will do after suffering a catastrophic injury.
Nathan is a talented player, was a substitute in Wolves’ 3-2 home loss to Brighton & Hove Albion in November but has had some success in the youth teams this season.
Wolves will be looking to sign a striker in the summer with Coventry City striker Viktor Gyokeres, touted as one possibility, but Nathan could be considered as cover.
If he performs well in preseason, Lopetegui might be open to considering the young player for the 2023–24 campaign.
Tyler Roberts - Winger
Tyler Roberts born in Walsall is a Wolves prospect who has excelled as a winger in Wolves U21s. Like Dexter Lembikisa who debuted for Jamaica and has signed a contract extension through 2025.
Adama Traore is scheduled to depart Molineux at the end of this season, while Daniel Podence and Hwang Hee-chan have had difficulty getting match experience. The 19-year-old could try to impress Lopetegui in preseason and secure a spot in the senior squad.
Tyler scored in the U21s’ EFL Trophy group stage triumph at Stockport County in September, scoring his first goal in senior competition this year.
Josh Esen - Winger / Attacking Midfielder
Josh Esen, another Wolves product who has extended his contract with the West Midlands club, will want to gain consistent playing time for the U21 team before considering making the first-team squad.
The former Llanelli Town prospect, who has one cap for Wales U18, provides the Wanderers with a versatility that is lacking in their current forward options. He is capable of playing on both the left and right wing as well as in the number ten position directly behind the striker.
A breakthrough into Lopetegui’s side remains unlikely in the immediate future.