Wolves’ veteran defender, Jonny Castro Otto, has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent after a training ground bust-up and a souring of relations at Molineux. The Spanish full-back, who has earned over 100 appearances in old gold has joined Greek PAOK FC on a free transfer, according to the club.
Jonny Joins PAOK
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What Happened with Jonny?
The Spanish international had been a reliable feature of Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side, joining the club in 2018 upon their promotion, initially on loan from Atletico Madrid, and then permanently in 2019. Highly rated for his consistency, defensive nous and tenacity, the defender was considered a guaranteed starter at his peak.
However, an MCL injury in 2020, followed by an ACL injury almost immediately upon his return led to him being on the treatment table for 487 days, with just a two-month gap between periods out.
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Although he enjoyed a few token appearances since his return, a major training ground bust-up soured relations with the club and led to him training away from the group and being unavailable for selection.
According to The Athletic, Jonny took umbrage to a heavy challenge on the training pitch from under-21s forward, Tawanda Chirewa. He responded by leading with an elbow into a challenge, and when coaching staff tried to diffuse the fracas, the Spanish defender spat at them. He was sent to the changing rooms to cool off, where he caused damage to the players’ area, including smashing a television and a table.
He would later apologise to his colleagues and the club, but the damage was done, and coach Gary O’Neil made it clear that he would not let that kind of behaviour taint the squad morale, so a departure became inevitable.
What Are His Next Steps and What Does the Transfer Mean for Wolves?
Many fans of the Midlands club will be sad to see a faithful servant leave under such a dark cloud, but few would criticise the team;s handling of matters or the transfer decision. Jonny had gone off the boil after his injuries and was not really in competition for a starting place regardless of his conduct.
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Sporting Director Matt Hobbs said: “Jonny hasn’t played a lot of football over the last couple of years, so he wants to go and play and we’re happy to give him that chance. He’s been a great servant to us, so we tried to make this happen for him as quickly as possible.
“Doc is the last one left from the starting Europa League group, and he came back, so Jonny leaving is another one gone from that era, from a group of players that will always be welcomed back to the club, for what they did for the club and Jonny will be held in the same regard.
“In the modern era, he was part of the most successful team we’ve had, so the only way Jonny should be remembered is for being an important part of it. Every team needs players where the manager knows exactly what he’s going to get. He raised one child here and had another here and loved the city. When you come to putting a team together, that’s really important.”
This leaves the Black Country side a little short at right back, with Nelson Semedo commanding the starting spot and experienced Matt Doherty as backup. It is unlikely Wolves will look to the January market, but they may consider their options in the summer, as neither right-back is particularly young, and there are few options in that position coming through the academy.