Wolverhampton Wanderers’ resolve to keep hold of promising young goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is set to be severely tested by the growing number of potential suitors.
The Wales international’s fantastic performances while deputising for the injured Matt Murray last season have certainly caught the eye as a host of clubs are said to be trying to tempt Wanderers into selling their emerging talent.
Arsenal are rumoured to be preparing an £8 million bid for the 21-year-old and Everton, Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa are all said to be interested, with one report indicating Wolves had already rejected a bid from Villa.
Hennessey’s stock has certainly been rising since he burst into the team this season and he was named in the Championship Team of the Season following his outstanding performances for Wolves. He started every single game last season and kept 19 clean sheets, conceding just 48 goals in 46 games. He has also kept five clean sheets in nine appearances for Wales.
Despite the scramble for Hennessey, Wanderers have repeatedly said they were not interested in selling any of their young talent, and with the backing of chairman Steve Morgan’s millions, the club has no financial need to cash in.
Manager Mick McCarthy has also repeatedly stated he felt Hennessey’s career would be better nurtured at Wanderers where he would get regular first team football as opposed to going to a bigger club like Arsenal and having to sit on the bench for long periods.
“He is our first choice keeper and he wants to develop here,” McCarthy said this month after holding talks with Hennessey about his future.
“If you have a good year in the Championship it doesn’t mean you are going to set the world on fire in the Premier League. You need to be more battled hardened.”
However, Hennessey might face a battle for his place next season after Wanderers’ other highly rated goalkeeper Matt Murray continued his rehabilitation after a serious knee injury.
The 27-year-old has been out of action for almost a year after rupturing a knee ligament and undergoing surgery. After a few setbacks, he has been continuing his rehabilitation during the close season and said he was encouraged by the progress he was making.
He said: “I went to see the specialist on Tuesday of last week and he was really happy with it. They took the tiniest bit of fluid off my knee but nothing serious.
“He just put an injection in and now I’m kicking on again with the weights trying to get the muscle on these chicken legs of mine!
“I’ll be starting running today (Friday) and then it’s just loads of plyometrics getting my spring back and then hopefully doing a bit of handling again. That will be great because by the end of July it will have been a whole year.
“I should have been fit for March and then I’d still have worked hard through the summer and been flying for pre-season. Now my aim is to play games hopefully by Scotland (the summer tour) if the gaffer wants me to which will be great.
“I’d like to be as involved in pre-season as much as possible and will do some extra maintenance myself to keep the legs strong which is what you have to do after injuries like these.
“At the moment the physios seem confident I should be able to do most of the work and that’s important because every time I’ve had a good season it’s come after a good pre-season behind me, and the more I can get done training-wise the more chance I’ve got to push Wayne and Carl (Ikeme).”