Wolves are in talks to sign £22m-rated Milan striker Patrick Cutrone.
Milan are trying to free up funds to buy Atletico Madrid’s £48m-rated Angel Correa, and have made the 21-year-old Italy international available, with Wolves confident of landing their man.
Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo wants a centre back, a central midfielder and a striker, but it looks as if he is close to securing the latter.
Cutrone netted nine goals in the first 16 games of last season before his scoring rate tailed off, with two in the rest of the campaign.
But Wolves see a long-term future for the hard-working centre forward and believe he can supplement established front two Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota. Cutrone would be the first Italian to play for Wolves but he also fits the sort of low profile, long-term investment, under-the-radar signing owners Fosun like to make.
Described as a ‘true number nine’, Cutrone’s attributes are his physical strength, positioning and aerial ability, plus his workrate.
After making his Serie A debut in 2016-17, he made his mark the following season with 18 goals in 46 games in all competitions, including 10 in 28 league outings. Last season he managed nine goals in 43 matches, finishing the campaign playing for Italy Under-21s in the European Championship, one of his two outings coming against Spain’s Wolves forward Rafa Mir in a 3-1 win.
Cutrone also has extensive experience of Europe, with two campaigns in the Europa League, where he has scored 10 times in 18 games over the last two seasons. His one full cap came against Argentina in March 2018 in a 2-0 friendly defeat after he had represented Italy at every age group from Under-15s to Under-21s.
Yesterday Wolves chairman Jeff Shi assured fans the squad would be strengthened before the new Premier League season. Wolves have been linked with a host of players, with only Salomon Rondon a confirmed target.
But the former Albion striker has now followed ex-Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez to China and joined Dalian Yifang.
Shi told skysports.com: “The team is still the core. If we can’t win games on the pitch it will not be helpful for us. So we are going to continue to invest in the squad and improve. I know some fans are maybe a little bit nervous, but we are working really hard. So don’t worry, we will be ready.”
However, Shi does not believe Wolves’ current squad will be overwhelmed by the demands of the Europa League campaign, and says they will only enter the market if the circumstances are right.
He said: “We have one more championship to play for but we have a very good medical team and sports science team. We have a small squad but we have strong Under-23 and Under-18 teams to support them.
“So I am not so worried about too many games for us. The thing is trying to find the right way to improve the level of our squad.”