Wolves want reunion with 29-year-old PL ace in January– should Lage go ahead and sign him?

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Matt Doherty of Spurs during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 13, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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Wolves interested in signing Tottenham Hotspur ace Matt Doherty in January

According to Football Insider (h/t The Irish Mirror), Wolves are considering a move for Tottenham Hotspur ace Matt Doherty in January. The full-back has struggled for game time this season, garnering only 594 minutes of action across all competitions.

The Irishman began his career at Bohemians and later joined Belvedere. In 2010, Wolves spotted him and signed the then 18-year-old. After loan moves to Hibernian and Bury, he formed part of the first team since 2013. He was key in the Midland club’s rise to the Premier League. In 2020, he joined Tottenham but has since been second fiddle in the right-back role.

Could he now leave the North London club? And should Wolves consider re-signing him?

Wolves could launch a bid to finish in the Top 6, Matt Doherty in January would certainly help

Since signing for Spurs, the full-back has only managed four appearances in the Premier League and all of them have been off the bench. He played a bit-part role under Jose Mourinho too last season, but the game-time was still considerable. Conte has, so far, used him in both wing-back roles in his 3-4-3 formation

Wolves are looking to re-sign Matt Doherty from Tottenham Hotspur in January. (Getty Images)
Wolves are looking to re-sign Matt Doherty from Tottenham Hotspur in January. (Getty Images)

But minutes have been really meagre as Emerson Royal has primarily played on the right, with Japhet Tanganga also sometimes preferred over the 29-year-old. Wolves are now ready to hand him an escape route out of North London. Nuno Espirito Santo left the Midlands club in the summer, and ironically enough, joined Spurs. The Molineux outfit, in turn, appointed Bruno Lage. 

The Portuguese boss was a rather unknown quantity but has since impressed fans with his methods and tactics. He has kept the 3-4-3 formation intact, a setup under which Doherty came to prominence in the Premier League. Nelson Semedo has been impressive in that role this season, but Ki-Jana Hoever still appears to be adjusting to life under new management.

But he is still only 19 and has time to develop and flourish in the future. In the meantime, the club recently won against Manchester United and are now five points off a Top 6 spot. In fact, they are within 7 points of 4th placed Arsenal and have a game in hand. 

Regardless, the European spots are up for grabs, and the way to achieve that would be substantial depth in each role. Semedo needs to be afforded rest from time to time, as does Marcal. The left-wing back has also been impressive, but with Jonny Otto injured, cover in that position has also become essential, although Rayan Ait-Nouri is a capable deputy. Doherty can function on each side and has already done so this season. He can maintain consistency levels amongst the squad by providing cover on each side. At 29, he still has a lot left in the tank and could prove beneficial if signed in January.

Wolves would be wise to only sign Matt Doherty on a loan deal

It would be wise to sign Doherty and even wiser if it’s initially a loan deal. Wolves and Spurs are apparently going to discuss a permanent deal or a loan with an obligation to buy. The full-back may have a lot left in the tank, but he shall be turning 30 this month. There is no saying if he can maintain his fitness and energy levels into his thirties.

Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves are holding talks over a permanent deal for Matt Doherty or a loan deal with an obligation to buy. (Photo by Ian Walton - Pool/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves are holding talks over a permanent deal for Matt Doherty or a loan deal with an obligation to buy. (Photo by Ian Walton – Pool/Getty Images)

Thus, if he does have a good six months, then a permanent transfer could be considered, especially with Marcal in the final year of his contract, but it isn’t mentioned if Wolves will be afforded that luxury as of now. Ait-Nouri and Hoever are likely to be the long-term heirs to the full-back roles but both could benefit from the experience of somebody like the 29-year-old. 

In his 302 appearances at the Molineux, Doherty scored 28 goals and provided 42 assists, including being their third top scorer in the 2019/20 season with 7 goals, not to mention his 5 assists as well. Wolves are in the race to secure a European spot and need to maintain consistency in their performances. The Irish international could certainly help that case, but the club needs to assess his displays over the next six months before thinking about a permanent move.

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Spurs might also consider not offloading him on a temporary basis, but transfer expert Fabrizio Romano recently revealed on his ‘Here We Go’ Podcast, as quoted by The Irish Mirror, that “Doherty has a serious chance of leaving in January.” Thus, if he does leave, Wolves should negotiate a temporary return for their former star.