Lopetegui can save Wolves millions this summer by unleashing £35k-p/w “unknown factor”

What Julen Lopetegui did at the end of his press conference as Wolves boss answers key questions - Alex Dicken - Birmingham Live

Wolves: £35k-p/w brute could be Molineux’s secret weapon

The forgotten man could yet make his mark

In an ideal world, a £15m striker gets off to a flying start and establishes himself as a reliable goalscorer. In a not so idea world, however, that £15m striker picks up a season-ending injury on the opening day of the season. And, unfortunately for Wolverhampton Wanderers, it was the latter which occurred to Sasa Kalajdzic last season.

The former Stuttgart forward arrived off the back of six goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances in the 2021/22 season – ready to take the Premier League by storm. One damming injury later, however, and Wolves were left short in the goals department once again.

Despite scoring the least amount of goals in England’s top flight last season, though, the Midlands side managed to comfortably survive in the end, much to the credit of Julen Lopetegui, who arrived, before steering them to safety.

Now, with Kalajdzic set to return, the former Sevilla boss could have himself a secret weapon next season. Or, at least, that’s what transfer insider Dean Jones believes, who told Football FanCast:

 

Sasa Kalajdzic injury latest as Wolves striker undergoes surgery on ACL - Birmingham Live

“I mean, we’ve not seen what he’s fully capable in this league yet. And this is a player who was on the radar of clubs Tottenham before he made the move.

“So, he’s got a decent reputation in the game generally, and I think that for Wolves, he could be a bit of an unknown factor that helps them next season.”

How good is Sasa Kalajdzic?

Given the departure of Diego Costa this summer, Kalajdzic may well find himself as the man that Lopetegui turns to at the start of next season. And, whilst, on paper, this is a 6 foot 6 striker that many will immediately identify as a target man, the former Stuttgart forward is much more than that.

He does present the obvious qualities as a target man, given his intimidating height up against defenders, but, as the stats show, he is also capable of playing in the neat and tidy system that the current Wolves boss prefers.

When compared to Raul Jimenez’s 2022/23 season, Kalajdzic, in the campaign prior to his Wolves move, made 12 more progressive passes, nine more progressive carries, and made 16 more shot creating actions, according to FBref, highlighting just how much more involved in the build-up that the 25-year-old is when fully fit compared to the Mexican’s output last year.

 

Manchester United target Sasa Kalajdzic as Cristiano Ronaldo replacement

Lopetegui wants his sides to play from the back, and the progressive passing ability of Kalajdzic should provide the perfect end product to that tactic. Given his tall frame, too, the Austrian should have no problem holding the ball up, allowing the likes of Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence to get more involved next season.

So, whilst his £35k per-week wage was simply spent on the treatment room last season, Kalajdzic is more than capable of providing Wolves with an unexpected secret weapon next season, plus much more.

It’s goals they need, and with Wolves’ financial problems well documented, he could be an option that potentially saves them millions in the transfer market

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