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23 goals, 12 assists – Wolves signing this 23-year-old Brazilian ace would be a good attacking boost

Brazil's Gremio Pepe celebrates after scoring against Paraguay's Guarani during their closed-door Copa Libertadores round before the quarterfinals football match at the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, on November 26, 2020. (Photo by Nathalia Aguilar / various sources / AFP) (Photo by NATHALIA AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Wolves should return for Gremio winger Pepe in January

Back in September, a report from Brazilian outlet SporTV (h/t Birmingham Live) had claimed that Wolves were monitoring Gremio winger Pepe closely with a view to a potential transfer before the summer deadline. 

It was also reported that the player’s agent had been due to fly down to the Black Country to hold talks with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. However, Pepe ended up staying put in his homeland after talks between the clubs failed to progress further. 

Profile

A youth exponent of Brazilian club Foz do Iguacu, Pepe spent time on loan in the youth ranks of Coritiba before being promoted to the senior team at his parent club. He made a handful of appearances in the Serie D, the fourth tier of football in Brazil, and impressed enough to earn a move to the top-flight with Gremio in 2016. 

The winger initially spent time with Gremio’s U-20 and reserve sides before making his first-team debut in the Serie A during the 2017 season. Pepe went on to establish himself as a key player in 2019, scoring 8 league goals in 33 appearances and has gone from strength to strength this term. 

ASUNCION, PARAGUAY – NOVEMBER 26: Pepe of Gremio celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during a round of sixteen first leg match between Guarani and Gremio as part of Copa Conmebol Libertadores 2020 at Estadio Defensores del Chaco on November 26, 2020, in Asuncion, Paraguay. (Photo by Nathalia Aguila – Pool/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old has bagged an impressive 7 goals and 3 assists in 17 league appearances for Gremio so far this season, with his consistent form attracting interest from several clubs in Europe. Pepe boasts a tally of 23 goals and 12 assists in 91 outings for the Brazilian giants across all competitions. 

Pepe would hand a massive boost to Wolves’ attack

Wolves have endured a mixed start to the 2020-21 campaign, despite forking out considerable cash to bring the likes of Fabio Silva and Nelson Semedo to Molineux during the summer window. 

Wolves have one of the worst scoring records outside the division’s current bottom-three, which clearly epitomises the need for some attacking reinforcements in January. The West Midlands outfit did bring in Fabio Silva with the hope of reducing the goalscoring burden on Raul Jimenez but the teenager is yet to get to grips with the English game.

Brazil’s Gremio Pepe (R) celebrates with a teammate after scoring against Paraguay’s Guarani during their closed-door Copa Libertadores round before the quarterfinals football match at the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, on November 26, 2020. (Photo by NATHALIA AGUILAR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The sale of Diogo Jota to Liverpool has come back to bite them hard, with the Portuguese international enjoying a stunning start to life at Anfield. Despite Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto chipping in with some quality performances, Adama Traore’s lacklustre form has often seen Wolves lack that much-needed cutting edge in front of goal. 

Thus, Wolves should make a renewed attempt to sign Pepe from Gremio when the market reopens in January. The 23-year-old has proven his worth as a reliable outlet for goals and assists in his homeland and looks more than ready to shine in Europe moving forward. 

Essentially a right-footed wide player, Pepe is at his best when deployed as an inverted winger on the left but is versatile enough to operate on the right and through the centre as a supporting striker. Hence, a potential deal for the Brazilian would offer Nuno Santo some valuable cover in multiple areas across the forward line. 

Brazil’s Gremio Pepe (L) celebrates with Brazil’s Gremio coach Renato Gaucho after scoring against Paraguay’s Guarani during their closed-door Copa Libertadores round before the quarterfinals football match at the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, on November 26, 2020.(Photo by NATHALIA AGUILAR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Verdict

There’s always an element of risk involved in signing players from the South American leagues but Pepe looks like a real talent capable of making an impression in English football. The 23-year-old is only going to get better with time and Wolves completing a deal for the Gremio star would surely pay off handsomely for their long-term plans.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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