Wolves Spanish Winger: Who is Pablo Sarabia?

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The Wanderers’ shrewd manoeuvre in 2023 Premier League January transfer window saw Pablo Sarabia join the West Midland outfit on a two-and-a-half-year deal – with Wolves’ Spanish winger expected to kickstart the League’s worst offence.

Upping sticks from Paris St Germain to head over to the Wolverhampton isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Guaranteed game-time is a major driving force behind Sarabia’s move. More interestingly, the thirty-year-old Spaniard will reunite with the ex-Spain boss, Julen Lopetegui.

Pablo Sarabia owns the tools to leave his mark in the Premier League as one of the top signings this year. Considering the same transfer window may include Wolves picking up Joao Gomes from Flamengo, Danny Ings moving to West Ham and Leandro Trossard bolstering Arsenal’s title charge – it will require something special from the Spaniard.

Who is Pablo Sarabia?

The Madrid native emerged from the Galacticos youth academy to start his professional career at Real Madrid Castilla (effectively, Real Madrid B-Team). Within less than a calendar year, Sarabia came off the bench to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in a Champions League group stage match against Auxerre in December 2010.

It would prove to be Sarabia’s peak with the world’s most valuable club. Throughout most of the 2010s, Sarabia remained in Spain while posting solid numbers nearing the end of his time at both Getafe and Sevilla.

Sarabia’s best season, 2018-2019, saw the twenty-six-year-old crank up his production on both sides of the ball for Sevilla. The 5’9″ winger played 33 times, scoring 12 goals and providing 13 assists. Better yet, Sarabia notched still extant season landmarks of 68 key passes, 136 progressive passes and 30 tackles.

‘Pablito’ had finally stamped his mark on the footballing scene. So much so that European financial heavyweights, PSG, came knocking ahead of the 2019-20 season. Sevilla’s hands were forced as they offloaded their star winger to Thomas Tuchel’s side for €40m.

Sarabia performed admirably over his first two seasons at the Parc des Princes collecting the French League, French Cup x2, French League Cup and French Super Cup x2.

Wolves’ Spanish winger was never more highly valued than the likes of Angel Di Maria or Neymar, yet his end-product production ensured that he received respectable playing time. The arrival of Lionel Messi over the 2021 Summer transfer window shook up the team dynamics, however, and motivated Sarabia’s loan move to Sporting CP.

Not only did Sarabia collect the Portuguese League Cup during his time in Lisbon, but he netted a career-best 15 league goals over the season. The Spaniard ensured that Sporting reached #2, just six points off Porto and defending their Primeira Liga title. Sarabia returned to PSG for the 2022-23 season, appearing 18 times, yet crossed the English Channel to link up with his former international boss. No surprise, considering Lopetegui assigned Sarabia with the captain’s armband en route to Spain’s U-19 European Championship tournament.

What does Pablo Sarabia offer Wolves?

Goals. Apologies for the simplistic nature of the response, but goals will always prove to be one of, if not THE, most vital part of football.

Wolves in the 2022-23 season have registered just 12 goals in 19 games. As to be expected with such a paltry figure, the West Midlanders have notched the lowest tally across the Premier League – 3 goals fewer than the next dismal record, West Ham United (15 goals scored).

Attempts to resolve the toothless attack came with the late-signing of the Austrian target man, Saša Kalajdžić, yet the former Stuggart striker tore his ACL just 45 minutes into his debut.

As the bulk of Wolves’ goals has been sourced from wingers (Daniel Podence – 5 goals, Adama Traore – 1 goal), it makes sense as to why Lopetegui would invest in proven firepower. At a fee of just £4.4 million, most Wolves fans at this stage would be willing to pay a player 1 million per goal.

In regard to the Wolves’ system, Lopetegui has also drafted in his former captain to provide more clinical chance creation. Wolves’ Spanish winger averages a stunning 6.69 progressive passes per 90 minutes – 2 passes higher on average than Wolves’ primary creators Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves.

Considering the nominal fee paid, the experienced Spanish winger could soon prove to be one of the shrewdest deals of any January transfer window.

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