Wolves journalist Nathan Judah has been discussing the role that Joao Moutinho could have next season.
The Portuguese midfielder has certainly seen his output decline over the years at Molineux, going from one goal and eight assists in the league in 2018/19, to one goal and six assists in 2019/20 and now just a goal and assist apiece this season, which is no surprise given the fact he’s now in his mid-thirties when you’d expect a player’s productivity to go down.
And that presents Wolves with an interesting scenario heading into the summer given that his contract is set to expire in 2022. Do they get rid of him, or do they keep him and use him more sparingly given his age?
Speaking on the E&S Wolves podcast, Judah felt that the club should do the latter, noting that he might be able to help develop younger players along the way whilst still being used in the first team occasionally:
“He’s got one more year on his contract. He’s not going to be a regular starter next year for Wolves. He can’t be, because I think at times this year, he has been a passenger. And you can understand it, he’s been there, he’s done it, he’s a genius of a player. And he has got a role to play next season.
“I think he’d be very important for the youngsters coming through as well and learning from him. But as for a regular player, I’d be stunned if he’s playing regularly next season.”
TIF Thoughts on Nathan Judah’s comments about Joao Moutinho…
If this season has taught Wolves anything, based on the injury to Raul Jimenez, it’s that they need strength in depth, something that is lacking when it comes to central midfielders like Moutinho. So unless they are planning on flooding the team with them this summer, then it would perhaps be wise to keep Moutinho on board.
Because whilst his numbers might not be great, it would still be better than trying to put someone young and untrusted in that position, or trying to shoehorn in someone who isn’t naturally a central midfielder if the first-choice players aren’t available.
In a sense, it’s better to have him and not need him, than need him and not have him.