Wolverhampton Wanderers are on a tough run of form in the Premier League with just one win from their last nine matches and six defeats.
The sole victory for Nuno Espirito Santo's men came at Molineux against a Chelsea side going through a similarly sticky patch of form. However, while Frank Lampard has the majority of his lavishly assembled squad available to him, Wolves lost star striker to Raul Jimenez to a head injury in late November which eventually required surgery.
The Mexico international has not returned to the pitch since and the team's results have dropped off of a cliff in that time to land them in 14th place in the Premier League table.
Wolverhampton will negotiate with Real Sociedad also in the next hours/days to sign Willian José. Not a done deal yet - buy option price and loan fee are still to be agreed. Cutrone will only leave Wolves [to re-join Serie A] if Willian José signs. 🐺 #wolves #transfers https://t.co/RxDULc215H— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 21, 2021
CBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano reports that the Black Country outfit are targeting Real Sociedad's Willian Jose as a replacement for Jimenez with Patrick Cutrone expected to return to Italy after his Fiorentina spell.
However, there are other names potentially available on the January transfer market and we will take a look at some of them.
Diego Costa, free agent
Initially expected to be Jimenez's replacement at Molineux, the Brazil-born Spain international is now without a club after rescinding his contract with Atletico Madrid. They say never go back and that certainly proved to be the case for the 32-year-old with Los Colchoneros with his second spell far less prolific than the first. Unlike Jose, Costa has already spent time in the Premier League with Chelsea and knows the competition's demands so would be a better fit on paper. Questions linger of his mentality and motivation levels after his disappointing return to Madrid, which is possibly why Wolves are looking at other options, and sizeable wage demands are also an issue.
Wolverhampton have never made a proposal to Diego Costa - he’s not received anything from them. Wolves board have opened talks with Real Sociedad to sign Willian José, as per @serdeportivosgi.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 20, 2021
The deal would be on loan - clubs are negotiating on the value of the buy option. 🇧🇷
Alexandre Pato, free agent
Like Costa, Pato is also available for free at present and also has Premier League experience after his spell alongside Costa at Chelsea back in 2016. However, the 31-year-old's time at Stamford Bridge was not nearly as successful as his fellow Brazilian's and he has hardly set the world alight since. Pato's career story is one of enormous wasted potential after a promising start to life with AC Milan which fizzled out and the former Selecao star has suffered regular physical and fitness problems since his 2013 departure. Pato was never able to rediscover his best form in spells back in his homeland or with Villarreal CF in Spain and his best form post-Milan actually came with the now defunct Chinese outfit Tianjin Tianhai -- named Tianjin Quanjian when he was there. Pato might still be capable of finding the back of the net, but the potential for failure with such a signing is even greater than the likes of Costa.
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Kasper Dolberg, OGC Nice
Emerging as an option for RB Leipzig as they look to boost their attacking options with Alexander Sorloth, Hwang Hee-chan and Yussuf Poulsen managing five goals and three assists between them so far this season is OGC Nice's Kasper Dolberg. Once highly rated with AFC Ajax, the Denmark international has taken a step down to join the Ligue 1 outfit's new project under INEOS' ownership and the marriage has not worked so far. Still just 23, Dolberg has just three goals to his name this season but is playing for an Aiglons side that has struggled domestically and in Europe and already dismissed Patrick Vieira as coach. Physically, there are fewer worries with the Scandinavian, and he would also be a cheaper option than the likes of seasoned professionals like Costa and Pato who have tasted the riches that soccer can offer. As far as short-term solutions go, Dolberg could be the smartest solution but Leipzig would be a difficult obstacle to overcome as they continue to offer excellent conditions for young talent to thrive.
Verdict: Costa calling
Based on the fact that Atletico Madrid were priced out of a move for Jose that eventually saw them go for Moussa Dembele on loan from Lyon instead, Wolves are likely to be required to pay a significant fee to sign the Brazilian permanently. It depends on how long Jimenez is out for and whether the Premier League side see Jose as a long-term fit, but Costa has the experience to get them out of their current predicament while Jose is more of a risk. Tried and tested usually gets results in the Premier League and that is what Wolves need right now -- and fast.