Highly rated Zimbabwean starlet Chirewa tipped as Neves’ successor at Premier League side Wolves

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Wolverhampton – After the blockbuster sale of Morgan Gibbs-White last summer, Wolverhampton Wanderers became even more aware of the benefits of unearthing academy talent.

The Old Gold sold the Englishman to Nottingham Forest for a fee of £42.5m after he made only 48 Premier League appearances for the club, signalling just how much profit can be generated from one of their own.

After the blockbuster sale of Morgan Gibbs-White last summer, Wolverhampton Wanderers became even more aware of the benefits of unearthing academy talent.

The Old Gold sold the Englishman to Nottingham Forest for a fee of £42.5m after he made only 48 Premier League appearances for the club, signalling just how much profit can be generated from one of their own.

Who is Tawanda Chirewa?

Following the close of the transfer window, Wolves’ academy welcomed 19-year-old midfielder Tawanda Chirewa as a free agent from Ipswich Town U21’s, after he turned down a new deal with the Championship side.

Having recently turned 20, the Zimbabwean has made a statement start to life in the Midlands, suggesting that his trajectory could be one to follow if his form continues.

While Wolves made their move for the prospect in September, the process to capture his signature spanned far prior to his actual arrival, with academy manager for football Jon Hunter-Barrett admitting that the Old Gold had been watching him since he was 16.

Ruben Neves celebrating a goal during his time at Wolves

The youngster arrives at Molineux with an encouraging amount of experience under his belt, having made his senior debut for Ipswich back in 2019 as a 16-year-old, becoming the second-youngest player to ever represent the Blues’ first team.

What could Tawanda Chirewa offer to Wolves?

Deployed as a central midfielder, Hunter-Barrett described the 20-year-old as having “key qualities” in “handling the ball in tight areas” and his ability to move play into more advanced spaces to “create and score from deep areas”.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Wolves have had a player that thrives in completing such tasks, with departed captain Ruben Neves being the club’s brain in the engine room during his six years in the Midlands, having been dubbed “incredible” by ex-teammate Hugo Bueno.

Lauded as a “highly rated” prospect by U23 scout Antonio Mango, Chirewa is already showing signs that he could be the eventual heir to the Portuguese ace, with a place in the squad potentially set to arise next summer.

O’Neil snapped up Manchester City starlet Tommy Doyle on loan from the treble winners on deadline day, however, if the Old Gold decide not to buy the 22-year-old, a gap could become vacant for a talent like Chirewa to exploit.

With one goal in two Premier League 2 appearances for his new club already, the Zimbabwean is settling in perfectly to his new surroundings, as supported by Talking Wolves founder Dave Azzopardi who dubbed him a “very tidy player” and one that could prevail to be a “really clever signing” in the future.

While there is a long time before the midfielder can be mentioned alongside a player of the calibre of Neves, his performance for Wolves in the Football League Trophy against Lincoln City bore similarities to those of the former captain.

As per Sofascore, the 20-year-old made two key passes in the 90 minutes he played, as well as contributing defensively with four tackles and five clearances, showcasing his strengths in a variety of roles.

In the Premier League last season, Neves notably illustrated his all-round quality after averaging 2.3 tackles and 2.3 clearances per game from 35 outings, while also offering six goals and one assist as a marker of his attacking threat.

Instead of looking to Doyle to be a long-term successor to the Al-Hilal man, O’Neil could potentially have a strong, standout heir in Chirewa, who looks to be on an encouraging path in the early days of his career at Molineux.

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