This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
In July 2010, Wolves cruised to a 3-0 pre-season friendly win against League of Ireland club Bohemians in Dublin, with the performance of one player catching the Molineux club’s eye.
A month later, young right-back Matt Doherty swapped Bohemians for Wolves in a cut-price deal worth €80,000 (£65,464), as per the Irish Independent, who noted that his “impressive” performance against Matt Jarvis prompted compatriot Mick McCarthy to bring him to the Black Country.
Doherty was only 18 when he crossed the Irish Sea and initially moved in with Wolves team-mate and fellow Irishman Stephen Ward, being given a first-team debut in the FA Cup against Doncaster in January 2011 and a Premier League debut away to Liverpool eight months later.
Wolves were relegated from the top flight that season, by which stage the Irish youngster had been loaned out to Hibernian. He had another loan spell at Bury during the 2012/13 campaign before financial trouble at the club resulted in him returning to Molineux midway through the season.
Doherty finally got regular game-time at Wolves in the opening months of 2013 under Dean Saunders but could not prevent a second successive relegation. Even though the Welshman who gave the defender his break at Molineux left that summer, his successor Kenny Jackett still handed Doherty 22 appearances in 2013/14, during which the right-back also signed a new contract with the club.
Wolves were back in the Championship a year later and their Irish right-back became a consistent presence in the team since 2014, clocking 33 or more league appearances in each subsequent season.
Jackett, Paul Lambert and Walter Zenga all departed as managers at the club in that time, but Doherty remained part of the furniture at Molineux and that hasn’t changed since Nuno Espirito Santo took charge in 2017. Including caretakers, he has played under seven managers in his Wolves career.
Doherty got forward to tremendous effect for Wolves throughout 2018/19, scoring no fewer than eight goals in all competitions as they finished seventh in the league and reached the FA Cup semi-finals.
Doherty was the PFA Premier League Player of the Month in September 2018 and was even touted to win the Player of the Year prize by Irish radio pundit Alan Cawley last season on 2FM‘s Game On [via extra.ie], while former Leeds and Ireland player John Giles told Off The Ball that the 27-year-old “played brilliantly” throughout the campaign.
The Republic of Ireland right-back has been from the Premier League to the third tier and back again during his nine years at Wolves, for whom he has played 269 times and scored 23 goals, as well as setting up another 37.
He has gone from being in a Wolves team that lost at home to Walsall in League One six years ago to starting each of their Europa League group games this season as they stand on the brink of making the knockout rounds of that competition.
When you look at those figures and then realise that Doherty’s transfer fee was lower than the weekly wages of current Wolves team-mates Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio (£100,000-a-week, as per spotrac.com), the right-back has been exceptionally great value for the Molineux club.
Wolves fans, has Doherty’s signing been one of the club’s greatest-ever bargains? Have your say by commenting below!
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