Why Wolves should reignite interest in Hwang Hee-chan to replace Jota
Back in December last year, The Telegraph (h/t Birmingham Live) reported that Wolves had identified South Korean international forward Hwang Hee-chan as a prime target heading into the winter market. However, a move to West Midlands never materialised.
Hwang eventually signed for German outfit RB Leipzig this summer on the back of a hugely impressive 2019-20 campaign at Rb Salzburg in Austria.
Hwang Hee-chan rose through the youth ranks of Pohang Steelers in his homeland before being scouted by RB Salzburg in 2014. He spent time on loan at FC Liefering in the Austrian second-tier before establishing himself as a regular starter for Salzburg during the 2016-17 season.
The Korean bagged 16 goals in 35 appearances in his full breakthrough season at Salzburg before playing a key role in the following campaign as the Austrian heavyweights enjoyed their best-ever run in the Europa League.
Hwang scored in a memorable 4-1 win over Lazio in the quarter-final of the competition, thus helping his club book their place in the semi-final. He spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Hamburger SV in the German second-tier.
The 24-year-old really came to the fore in Salzburg’s Champions League campaign last season, bagging 3 goals and 3 assists in 6 appearances in the group stages of the competition. Hwang put in some excellent shifts against elite European clubs like Liverpool and Napoli, earning widespread applause for his performances.
He registered an impressive 45 goals and 29 assists in 126 appearances for Salzburg in all competitions before completing a move to RB Leipzig. The 32-cap Korean international has already got himself off the mark in just 4 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit.
Hwang would replenish Wolves’ attack after Jota’s departure
Wolves roped in highly-rated 18-year-old striker Fabio Silva from FC Porto to take the pressure off Raul Jimenez’s shoulders. However, the Black County outfit were dealt a major blow when they lost Diogo Jota to Liverpool.
The departure of Jota has robbed Wolves of some valuable depth and quality in front of goal. Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, and Adama Traore are all capable of playing in wide attacking roles but Nuno Espirito Santo ideally needs to replace a player of Jota’s calibre to ensure that Wolves have enough firepower to compete with the elite clubs in the division.
To put things into perspective, Wolves should go back in the market for Hwang Hee-chan to bring in a readymade replacement for the departed Portuguese international. The Leipzig star boasts the versatility to play anywhere across the forward line and a potential deal for him would clearly go a long way towards replenishing the team’s lost depth in attack.
The 24-year-old racked up some incredible numbers for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga while also lightning up the scene with some top-drawer displays in the European competitions.
Hwang managed a total of 7 goals and 5 assists in 20 appearances in the main stages of the Europa League and Champions League combined, which lies testament to his ability to deliver the goods against quality opposition at the highest level.
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Considering that he recently joined Leipzig on a five-year deal, Hwang Hee-chan is certainly not going to be available on the cheap in January should Wolves opt to reignite their interest in his services.
However, he does seem to have the pedigree and the versatility to establish himself as a key player under Nuno Santo. The Korean still has his best years ahead of him, thus making the 24-year-old worth a significant outlay for Wolves.