Head Coach O’Neil discuss plans to unearth Wolves’ next Jimenez in “aggressive” academy gem…

Gary O’Neil could be close to unearthing Wolves’ next big thing…

Wolverhampton Wanderers have benefitted from the talent from their academy in recent years, with another star looking to be the next big thing at Molineux.

The £42.5m sale of graduate Morgan Gibbs-White handed the Old Gold a financial boost last summer, earning a significant profit from the Englishman that stormed through the academy to eventually catch alight on loan.

Now, Gary O’Neil could be close to harvesting Wolves’ next young star, with 18-year-old striker Nathan Fraser on the cusp of breaking through into the first team.

Nathan Fraser’s career so far

Starting his journey with the Midlands club at the age of seven, Fraser signed his first professional contract at Molineux in 2022 after excelling on his journey through the ranks in the academy.

The Ireland U19 international made a statement in the 2021/22 campaign, where he netted ten goals and claimed two assists in 24 appearances, with one goal coming in the Premier League 2, showcasing his ability to perform at a higher level than his age suggests.

Once lauded for his “dedicated” rise to prominence in the squad at Wolves by sporting director Matt Hobbs, the teenager has become a reliable source of goals in the club’s academy.

Last season, Fraser netted seven goals in 26 appearances, prompting a promotion to even higher levels, thanks to the promise O’Neil has seen in his progression.

How Nathan Fraser’s future at Wolves could look

In September, the 18-year-old was officially promoted to the first-team squad after scoring his first senior goal on his debut in the Carabao Cup in August.

Against Blackpool, the Wolverhampton-born sensation scored and assisted to show the manager first-hand what he can offer the squad, with his scoring record in the 2023/24 campaign continuing to impress in the academy.

With five goals in eight appearances this season, the teenager has outscored O’Neil’s star man Pedro Neto this term, reinforcing how deadly he can be when given a chance in the final third.

Described as an “aggressive and strong” figure in attack by academy coach, Jonathan Hunter-Barrett, the future of Fraser at Molineux could be very bright, particularly when assessing the squad’s options to take the throne from departed goalscorer, Raul Jimenez – who joined Fulham over the summer after scoring 57 goals in 166 games for Wolves.

While Matheus Cunha’s goal-scoring ability is outweighed by his explosive nature to inspire positive passages of play, the teenager could surely battle fellow striker Fabio Silva for a place in the first team.

The Portuguese forward is still adapting to the pace and physicality of the English top flight, with his naivety in front of goal perhaps calling for another loan spell to lure him out of his shell.

With O’Neil’s support, Fraser could be in a position to become Molineux’s heir to Jimenez, with his goal-scoring prowess and suitability to the Premier League perhaps greater than that of the misfiring Silva.

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