The budget summer signing Wolves should move heaven and earth to seal

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Could a budget-friendly move for Fábio Carvalho be precisely what Wolves need this summer?

This will be the most difficult transfer window for Wolves in some time. On the one hand, the desperate need to turn a profit and swerve the prospect of failing to meet their FFP commitments after what is likely to be two years of substantial losses. On the other, a need to rejuvenate the midfield and finally find the goals that have been so sorely lacking since Raúl Jiménez’s cruel injury robbed the Mexican forward of his threat and a hefty chunk of his career.

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It is a difficult balancing act that is required, and one that may cost them their manager. Lean too far one way and the financial situation becomes untenable - too far the other and a relegation that was staved off easily enough this season becomes a real prospect. Wolves have a solid defence but scored fewer goals than any other team. The needs are pressing and clear, but there is precious little money to service them.

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So when an opportunity to meet both needs presents itself, Wolves have to make sure they take it. Just such an opportunity might be found in the form of Liverpool youngster Fábio Carvalho.

The Portuguese prodigy made a huge impression during Fulham’s promotion campaign last season and earned a £5m move (excluding several add-ons) to Anfield - but despite Jürgen Klopp’s assurances that “nobody has impressed me more”, minutes have been hard to come by, and a supremely gifted young man may be looking for a move.

Carvalho was always a slightly awkward tactical fit for Liverpool - while he’s perfectly comfortable playing on either wing, he’s first and foremost a number ten, dropping deep in behind a primary striker to pick up possession and driving the play forward, often bursting past the defensive line from deep to score. That simply isn’t a position that can be found in Klopp’s 4-3-3 set-up, and that tactical kink combined with his young age means that opportunities have been limited. This could be where Wolves come in.

Carvalho has made just four league starts this season, and spent only 347 minutes on the field of play. Despite that, he has scored twice, almost doubling his xG and showing off the quality that Wolves need the most - an eye for goal.

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During his breakthrough season at Craven Cottage, he scored 10 off an xG of 8.6 and set up seven more. He’s a superb finisher who creates as well, a nightmare to mark thanks to his habit of shuttling between attack and midfield, and a technically impressive player who can offer plenty as a playmaker in deeper positions.

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He’s also a strong dribbler who’s accustomed to breaking the defensive line and does so well - a quality Wolves have largely lacked in the last couple of seasons. But the most important aspect of his game is simply that all the evidence available suggests that he will score goals in substantial numbers, and will create more chances for others around him.

Liverpool have reportedly already rejected a permanent bid from an unnamed club, but this is a club who are comfortable with using the loan market to develop their brightest talents, with players like Harvey Elliott, Tyler Morton, Taiwo Awoniyi and Neco Williams sent out to get some valuable experience - and a loan move for Carvalho has not been ruled out.

It would be a superb move for both parties. Liverpool would get one of the most talented under-21s regular gametime in the Premier League. Wolves would get a player more likely to get the goals column ticking over than anyone in their squad as it stands and wouldn’t have to pay too much money for the privilege.

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It can always be argued that a loan move would be a sticking plaster over a gaping wound, but one season of carefully balanced books would give them more leeway to spend next summer, with the substantial losses of 2021/22 season taken off the rotating three-year FFP balance. It wouldn’t be a permanent solution, but it would fit the needs of a difficult summer.

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Of course, Carvalho is young, and essentially unproven at Premier League level. There are no guarantees that the statistics would bear out over the course of a 38-game top-flight campaign. But the risk is so low - and the reward so high - that Wolves should move heaven and earth to make this one happen.

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