New Wolves signing Raphael Nya will be staying put at Molineux this coming season – and could feature in the Europa League.
The 19-year-old defender, who has played both full back roles and centre back, signed on a three-year contract from French Ligue 1 champions PSG last week for an undisclosed fee. Nya captained PSG’s Under-19s last season and led them to four wins and a draw in the UEFA Youth League Group C against the likes of Liverpool, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade before they lost 2-1 to Hertha Berlin in an intermediate stage decider.
Wolves loans manager Seyi Olofinjana has stated elsewhere that some Under-23s players will be allowed out to other clubs on a temporary basis to gain first-team experience. But Nya will remain at Molineux to play his part in gold and back, which could mean he is part of head coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans for the Europa League campaign.
Chairman Jeff Shi said at the end of last season that Under-23s players would be promoted to Nuno’s squad for the Europa League.
“Some will stay, like Raphael Nya, and those are the sort of players who will bolster what’s already there in the academy so we can do well next season,” said Olofinjana.
“He will be playing for the Under-23s but it’s a fantastic opportunity to be seen by Nuno to see him play and assess him for the first-team environment, but predominantly for the Under-23s.”
Olofinjana is convinced Nya will impress quickly after watching him extensively before they signed him.
“He’s a good player. Prior to him coming to the club we did a lot of work on him. We went to watch him live and I personally watched him on DVD. He can play with both feet, he can head it well and he’s only a young lad so he has some development to go through.
“But for our academy, I’m sure he’s got all of the attributes we’re looking for.”
Wolves Under-23s were promoted as champions from Premier League 2 Division 2 last season. Olofinjana believes supporters should be thrilled at the quality of players coming through.
“Fans should be excited. It’s a fantastic time to be at the club at the moment with the way the first team like to work, they don’t take on too many players,” added the former Nigeria international. “There are only 18, 19 players, to be supplemented by the B team if you like – our Under-23s – so from that viewpoint, any young player at Wolves right now is in for an exciting time.
“To get to train with the likes of Joao Moutinho on a daily basis and to learn from them and get the opportunity to play now and them, then to go to play on loan somewhere where you’re going to play and develop, hopefully who plays in a similar style to Wolves, it’s an exciting time for the lads, and I hope they embrace the challenge.”