O’Neil could land “top player” who’d be perfect for Hwang at Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers suffered yet another Premier League defeat in midweek, this time to AFC Bournemouth, as the Old Gold’s chances of finishing in the top half took another major

 

While Gary O’Neil’s debut campaign in charge of the Molineux side has largely been positive, the previous few weeks have seen an injury crisis derail their progress.

Players such as Pedro NetoHwang Hee-ChanMatheus Cunha, and Craig Dawson have been in superb form throughout the 2023/24 season, yet they have all suffered injuries just when Wolves were banging on the door of a top-half finish.

Pedro-Neto-Wolves-Premier-League

It proves that O’Neil has a real lack of squad depth at his disposal and he will certainly be hoping to bring in a few players during the summer transfer window.

Much will depend on how big his budget will be, however, as the Old Gold seek to comply with financial fair play rules, which suggest the manager might need to sell a few players in order to balance the books.

With regard to future incomings, it appears he is showing interest in a current South Korean international who knows Hwang fairly well…

Wolves transfer news

According to reports in Serbia earlier this week (via Birmingham World), Wolves are reportedly showing interest in Red Star Belgrade midfielder Hwang In-beom as they look to strengthen their squad this summer.

Indeed, both Wolves and fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace sent scouts to watch over the player during Red Star’s Serbia Cup semifinal win over Partizan Belgrade, with the South Korean star playing the entire match during their victory.

In-Beom-Hwang

The centre of midfield is certainly an area which could do with some reinforcements ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

The 27-year-old has only been in Serbia for a year, moving to Red Star from Olympiacos last summer, but it appears his performances have caught the eye in recent months, especially as Wolves sent representatives to watch his display.

 

With Hwang enjoying his finest season in terms of goals scored at Wolves this season, could signing his compatriot take his game to a new level next season?

Hwang Hee-Chan’s statistics for Wolves this season

The centre-forward initially joined the club on loan in the summer of 2021, before signing permanently just six months later.

Across his first two full seasons, Hwang scored five and four goals respectively, struggling to make an impact in the team as the club failed to build on Nuno Espírito Santo’s success under new manager Bruno Lage.

hwang-hee-chan-wolves-premier-league

This season has been a different story for the South Korean, finally emerging as a main goal-scoring threat under the leadership of O’Neil.

Not only has he scored ten Premier League goals in 25 games, but the 28-year-old currently ranks highly among the rest of his teammates with regard to various performance metrics.

In terms of goals and assists in the top flight, Hwang ranks second in the squad with 13, while he also ranks fourth for shots on target per game (0.6), big chances created (four) and fifth for successful dribbles per game (1.4) which demonstrates how important he has been to their cause this term.

O’Neil has deployed the former RB Leipzig gem across the front three this season, while he has even dropped deep into an attacking midfield role at times, depending on the formation the manager uses.

This could see him link up well with his compatriot should he make a move to the Midlands in the summer, as their chemistry will already be established heading into the new season.

Hwang In-beom’s statistics this season

The 27-year-old has shown his positional versatility this term, either playing as a defensive, central, or attacking midfielder for the Serbia side, contributing five goals and five assists across 30 appearances.

This suggests he has plenty of attacking traits which could prove useful for Wolves as he tends to burst forward from the heart of the midfield on a regular basis.

Hwang In-Beom’s stats for Red Star in the Serbia top flight this season
Goals 4
Assists 4
Accurate passes per game 42.3
Big chances created 8
Key passes per game 2.2
Via Sofascore

The former Olympiacos dynamo currently ranks second among his teammates for overall Sofascore rating (7.64) in the Serbia top flight, along with ranking fourth for big chances created (eight), fifth for accurate passes per game (42.3), second for key passes per game (2.2) and fifth for tackles each match (1.5), showing a real desire to help out either when his side has the ball and are attacking, or if they are defending.

Slotting just behind Hwang, the current Red Star midfield general could create plenty of chances for him while offering support in the final third. Across the whole Wolves’ midfield this season, only Mario Lemina has scored more than twice, indicating a need for a player who can assist the front three when the Old Gold are attacking.

The Red Star player isn’t just shining in his current squad either. When compared to his positional peers in the men’s next 14 competitions, Hwang currently ranks in the top 3% for shot-creating actions (4.75), the top 4% for total shots (2.21), the top 13% for non-penalty goals (0.17) and in the top 7% for tackles (3.23) per 90, proving he is among the best in his position for these metrics.

 

The midfielder has plenty of experience starring at the highest level, representing South Korea at the 2022 World Cup, where journalist Konstantinos Lianos dubbed him a “top, top player” as the Asian nation made the knockout stages for only the third time in their history.

He started all four games in Qatar and showed plenty of willingness to get on the ball and make things happen, evidenced by the fact he averaged 70 touches per game while succeeding with 80% of his passes each match.

here is no doubt the South Korean midfielder would improve the current Wolves’ midfield setup. The main question is, will they be able to afford him?

He has a contract at Red Star until 2026, which suggests they will have to pay a sizeable fee – especially considering his performances this season – to secure his signature.

 

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