Why Wolves should plot a January swoop for Burnley’s James Tarkowski
Wolves have managed to seal a spot in the Europa League group stage after beating Torino in the play-offs.
They were in the hat for the main draw of a European competition for the first time since 1980. And on Friday, the Wanderers learnt their Europa League fate and will face Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava in Group K.
It’s an incredible achievement for Nuno Espirito Santo and his team, who were until last year playing in the Championship. They have had an early start to the campaign due to the qualifiers and as they are now in the Europa League, Nuno needs to manage his players well to avoid a potential burnout.
Wolves made some eye-catching signings in the summer transfer window, with Patrick Cutrone, Bruno Jordao, Pedro Neto and Jesus Vallejo arriving at the Molineux. Vallejo is on a season-long loan from Real Madrid and his acquisition was a major coup for the Wanderers.
He will have to break a trusted combination of Willy Boly, Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett in defence if he wants chances in the league.
Going by Wolves’ performances in the Premier League this season, however, they haven’t looked at their sublime best, lacking creativity and guile in the final third. They have been really sloppy at the back as well but given their midweek Europa League exertions, their fatigue is somewhat understandable.
Despite the addition of Vallejo, Nuno lacks depth in defence. An injury to any of his first-choice centre-back could lead to problems as Vallejo—even after performing commendably in the Europa League qualifiers—is yet to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.
To put things plainly, the Wanderers need a Premier League proven defender in their ranks and Nuno could do a great job if he manages to sign Burnley star, James Tarkowski, who was heavily linked with a summer switch to Molineux.
James Tarkowski, 26, was in demand during the summer transfer window following his strong 2018/19 campaign with Burnley.
In fact, he has been a consistent performer for the Clarets ever since signing from Brentford in 2016. His rock-solid displays for Sean Dyche’s side has also seen him earn two international caps under Gareth Southgate.
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The England international is ready to make the next step up in his career. Wolves could offer the defender the chance to prove himself at the highest level.
For their part, Nuno’s side would be acquiring an experienced, reliable and proven Premier League centre-back. Tarkowski would bring stability, experience, calmness and most importantly competition for the current Wolves defenders.
Signing Tarkowski in January would represent a massive statement from Wolves, but they’ll need to be ready to fork out a substantial amount of money to persuade Burnley into selling one of their prized assets.