Mainz and Ivory Coast defensive midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin is attracting interest from Wolves, according to reports from Germany.
Bild reported that the Premier League club are in the hunt for the 23-year-old, with Monaco also believed to be chasing his signature.
According to the report (via HITC), Mainz value the midfielder at £35million and Wolves are not the first Premier League side to have been impressed by Gbamin.
Fussball Transfers reported claims from Bernard Collignon, the player’s agent, that he has had discussions with Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton.
According to HITC, he is an excellent distributor of the ball who “loves to start attacks with his jinking runs through the centre of the park while probing opposition backlines with his forward-thinking passes“.
The Ivory Coast midfielder averaged 1.1 dribbles per game last season and has a passing success rate of 80.4%. He plays an average of 43 passes per game, including 2.6 long balls. In terms of the defensive side of his game, he averaged 1.6 tackles and one interception per game in 2018/19 (via WhoScored).
If he joins Wolves, he would face plenty of competition for a defensive midfield starting berth with Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss.
In terms of dribbles per game, Dendoncker has the highest figure of the Wolves trio with 0.6, which still falls well short of Gbamin’s average. Neves plays the most passes with 55.4 per game, ahead of Saiss (38.8) and Dendoncker (31.9).
All three players are more efficient in their defensive work than Gbamin. For both tackling and interceptions, Neves averaged 2.1 per game last season. Saiss made 2.1 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per match, while Dendoncker recorded 2.8 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game.
Neves was by far the most effective of the lot for goal contributions, scoring five times and providing four assists in 2018/19. Gbamin matched Dendoncker’s and Saiss’ two-goal tally last season and, unlike the Wolves duo, managed to supply an assist.
With Neves providing a scoring and creative threat from the base of midfield, as well as being the most accurate of Wolves’ defensive midfielders in terms of passing, his place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s first XI looks secure.
Gbamin can certainly improve the defensive aspect of his game, but the statistics suggest that he would offer more in possession of the ball than Dendoncker and Saiss.
Mainz’s valuation of £35m does seem quite large, but if Wolves are willing to roll the dice and meet that asking price, they could get a midfielder who may add excellent dribbling ability to the team and make things happen from the middle of the park.
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