Lage struck gold on ‘phenomenal’ £9.5m signing who’s now worth £17m
Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a trialling time since the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo, having seen three managers take charge of the squad since his farewell in 2021.
The Portuguese coach restored Premier League football at Molineux, as well as taking the Old Gold on a European journey, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019/20 Europa League just two seasons after their promotion.
After four years in the Midlands, the 49-year-old left by mutual decision after Wolves hit poor form, replaced by Bruno Lage who was dismissed just 16 months later when the club were in the relegation zone last season.
Former Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui stepped in to save the day before being swiftly replaced by Gary O’Neil this summer, after struggling to accept the financial burdens the club were struck with.
Over the last few years, Wolves have seen a decline in performance and direction, however have remained in a far better position than what could have been, thanks to some of the talent in the ranks.
Despite ending their times at Molineux as a result of bad form, Lage and Nuno combined to hand the Old Gold one of their top performers in recent times, delivering Rayan Ait-Nouri to the Midlands.
How much did Rayan Ait-Nouri cost Wolves?
Signed on a loan deal from French outfit Angers in 2020 by Nuno, the Algerian was snatched up permanently by Lage after impressing during his season-long spell in the Premier League.
Wolves paid a £9.5m fee to secure the youngster on a five-year deal in 2021, with the option for an additional year, a small cost for a talent with so much potential.
Lauded as “phenomenal” aged just 19 by journalist Tim Spiers, the full-back settled in quickly in the English top-flight, recording 21 appearances in his debut campaign before making his move permanent.
Now, the 22-year-old has made 70 Premier League appearances for Wolves, scoring three goals and registering five assists as he continues to show his worth in the Midlands at left-back.
How much is Rayan Ait-Nouri worth now?
Having made five appearances for O’Neil’s side already in the 2023/24 league campaign, the £10k-per-week maestro is excelling on the flank, showing his ability to play in the ever-popular inverted role to exploit his attacking strengths.
Sporting an expected transfer value (xTV) of €6.6m (£5.7m), as per Football Transfers, in the summer of 2020, just prior to his loan move to Wolves, the one-cap Algeria international has seen his value soar since his arrival in England.
Currently, the 22-year-old is valued at around €20m (£17m) by CIES Football Observatory, showing a gradual rise in his market value, telling of his improvement and rise to prominence at Molineux.
At left-back, Ait-Nouri has performed as one of the standout full-backs in Europe as supported by FBref’s statistics.
The defender ranked in the top 3% of fullbacks in Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for his rate of successful take-ons, averaging a mammoth 2.21 per 90, as well as ranking in the top 7% for his 2.95 tackles per 90, via FBref.
Lage certainly struck gold by welcoming the dynamic Algerian on a permanent deal, with the defender having the potential to make the Old Gold millions in the future.
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