Jota – Jewel In The Anfield Crown
Impact Among The Elite An Endorsement For Wolves, Too
In 2017, Wolves eked a couple of dozen games out of Ben Marshall, loaned Lee Evans to Wigan and sold Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to Reading. Their Christmas week matches were against Millwall and Bristol City.
Now, they can look south and spot Matt Doherty in Tottenham’s squad, cast a glance north to see Diogo Jota pulling trees up with Liverpool and still have Rui Patricio’s move to Roma fresh in their minds.
On top of that is the knowledge of how their heroic former head coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, was deemed good enough to be be installed at Spurs – for a few months at least.
Wolves may currently be in a goal drought and bobbing around in the middle third of the table but they have come an awfully long way.
And their first two scheduled fixtures after Boxing Day are (or maybe were) Arsenal away and Manchester United away.
Nothing or no-one better illustrates the gold dust that Molineux has had sprinkled on it in recent seasons, though, than Jota, who continues to look the absolute real deal.
He has 13 goals with the season barely at its half-way point, his 12 for Liverpool including strikes against Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United away, Arsenal and his former club, Atletico Madrid.
At home to Leicester last week in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, he struck in front of The Kop to help turn a tie in which his side were twice trailing by two goals and also netted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. He scores big goals in big games.
This followed the 13 club goals he managed in his debut Anfield season despite being absent for three months through injury.
Once more in 2020-21, he proved himself a man for the big occasion as he built on the excellent impact he made in a Molineux stay of 44 goals in 131.
What we are inclined to forget about the Portugal forward is that he has still only just turned 25 and the heights he is currently touching near the top of the Premier League aren’t necessarily a ceiling.
It’s not stretching a point to say that Wolves haven’t sent anyone off on a career path as successful and big-time as this since Robbie Keane departed – and that was at the end of the last century.
To see a player leaving these parts for £40m-plus and immediately become a star at the top of the game is further proof of how much those at Molineux have got right in the last few years.