Chiwome signs long-term Wolves deal

Wolves striker Leon Chiwome has agreed a new contract which will keep him at Molineux until 2028 after the 18-year-old broke through into the first-team last season.

Chiwome joined the club in the summer of 2022 from AFC Wimbledon after being scouted while playing for Alfold FC and the Sussex Schools FA team.

Having represented the under-18s and under-21s in Old Gold, Chiwome has also regularly pulled on the Three Lions of England at both under-17 and under-18 level, scoring his first goal for the latter during a 2-1 win over Netherlands in March.

Chiwome’s goal for England under-18s came during a period which saw the striker experience a run in Gary O’Neil’s first-team. Having made his senior Wolves debut a few days prior to going away on international duty, by coming off the bench in the FA Cup quarter-final against Coventry City, upon his return, he made his Premier League debut.

Leading the line in the absence of the injured Matheus Cunha, Chiwome was in from the start for Wolves’ top flight clash away to Aston Villa, while also featuring in the away fixture with Burnley at Turf Moor, as well as the Molineux meeting with West Ham United.

However, the youngster suffered an injury in training shortly after the West Ham game which unfortunately meant his breakthrough 2023/24 season was brought to an abrupt end.

But with the 18-year-old signing a new four-year deal with the club, sporting director Matt Hobbs is excited for what the future holds for Chiwome in gold and black.

“Leon stepped up last year in a tough time, when we had some injuries, and showed the potential that he has,” Hobbs said. “He’s still at the start of his journey, with loads to learn and loads of development still to come, but to secure him to a long-term contract which allows us to go through that development cycle with him is obviously great for the football club.

“There’s been lots of interest in him from other clubs, so it’s been a nice one for us to secure and it shows our commitment to him as well as his commitment to us.

“What he experienced last season can only help his development. Making your first Premier League start against an Aston Villa team who were flying at the time, with very expensive centre backs to come up against, would have given him a taste of what’s required and the areas that he still needs to work on, develop and improve.

“It’s an exciting future for him; he’s tall, he’s quick, he’s athletic, he can score all types of goals, but there’s a big difference between being able to do that at under-18s and under-21s football and doing it in the Premier League.

“He’s still at the start of his development and has every area to work on. He’s blessed with natural physical attributes, and he needs to refine them, but that’s expected from a boy who came to us at 16 and had only been in academy football for a year previously.

“He’s not a boy who’s come through a category one academy all the way from eight years of age, so he’s still right at the start of his development, after only three years of academy football under his belt, which makes him an exciting prospect.”

With Chiwome’s long-term future secured at Molineux, the aim now for the striker will be to continue his development path, in whichever way that leads, with Hobbs not ruling out a possible first senior loan move.

“We don’t ever nail our colours to any particular mast when it comes to the future, but he’s still only a first-year pro so the plan is for him to stick around and train with the first-team and then play with the under-21s. But you never know, sometimes loan opportunities come out of nowhere and the opportunity to go and play men’s football may be a really good part of his journey and his football education.

“At the moment, the plan is for him to stay with us, develop under Gary, his staff and James with the 21s, but while the window is open, there are other possibilities.”