Why Leo Bonatini would be a good back up for Jack Marriott at Derby County
Leo Bonatini was one of the driving forces behind Wolverhampton Wanderers’ successful campaign in the Championship last season which saw them secure promotion back to the Premier League after a six-year absence.
The 24-year-old Brazilian accumulated 12 goals and 5 assists from 43 appearances in the second-tier last season and also won the Player of the Month award for October.
As a result of his contribution to the promotion-winning campaign, Wolves signed him permanently from Saudi Professional League club Al-Hilal in the summer. However, the Brazilian has struggled to find his feet in the Premier League and the arrival of Raul Jimenez on loan has also pushed him down the pecking order at Molineux.
Bonatini has made only 7 substitute appearances for the newly-promoted side in the top-flight this season. As opposed to his clinical nature in front of the goal last season, the Brazilian has missed loads of chances and his finishing has been anything but clinical.
Nuno Santo has preferred the combination of Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore up front, with Helder Costa and Diogo Jota playing behind the front two. Ivan Cavaleiro has emerged as a super sub off the bench, chipping in with a few valuable strikes at crucial stages.
As things stand, Bonatini is unlikely to get a look in for a substantial role in the squad under Nuno Santo and a loan move to the Championship might help him rediscover his mojo as a goalscorer. It is quite common for the players to drop a division to get back to their best and Bonatini should follow the same path.
Derby County should sign him on loan in January to add more depth to their attacking options. In fact, Bonatini might be the ideal man to provide cover and competition for Jack Marriott up front.
Frank Lampard’s men currently sit 5th in the Championship standings with 39 points from 24 games and the Rams will need to fight it out against the likes of Middlesbrough, West Brom and Nottingham Forest to secure a promotion playoff spot.
The Rams have depended heavily on their loanees for success this season, with Fikayo Tomori, Harry Wilson and Mason Mount being at the centre of whatever the club has achieved. Much of the attacking workload has been shouldered by Jack Marriott, while Martyn Waghorn has also chipped in with a couple of strikes.
Derby need more firepower in their attack to boost their chances of promotion and someone like Bonatini can add another dimension to their attack with his hold-up play and vision. Standing at 6ft 1in with a towering frame, the Brazilian likes to use his strength to hold onto the ball in the final third, allowing the others to get involved in the game.
He is also a good passer and has the ability to play his teammates in behind the backline with inch-perfect through balls. Furthermore, he is a clinical finisher, as evident from his numbers in the previous season where he helped Wolves secure promotion.
Derby should go all out to sign Bonatini on loan in January as he has all the qualities to play as a target man in their 4-3-3 formation.