Wolverhampton Wanderers were back in the Premier League with a bang last season.
Wolves soared to the Europa League and the FA Cup semi-finals in 2018/19 after winning the Championship the previous year.
Nuno Espirito Santo has been a revelation at Molineux, as Wolves have quickly established themselves in the top half of the Premier League and are knocking on the door of consistently challenging the big clubs.
Football Manager 2020 gives you the chance to take over and push Wolves further up the table. Can you take them to a first major trophy since their League Cup triumph in 1980?
REALISTIC: Wolves' board isn't placing too much pressure on you at the beginning of your tenure.
This new feature has been a big success in FM20. It shows both the long and short-term goals for the club as outlined by the board. This includes the style of play, financial targets, and competition results.
The Wolves board want to maintain the positive and attractive football that has seen the club progress from the Championship to the Europa League. Given the quality of the players you have available, this is definitely achievable.
The board also want you to sign Portuguese players and those with high reputations to help the shirt sales as well as developing Mollineux's youth facilities.
In your first season, the board wants you to finish in the top half of the Premier League, which is fair.
This side isn't ready to break into the top six just yet. There's also a high emphasis placed on the Europa League, the board expects a minimum of a quarter-finals appearance, which is no mean feat given the level of teams in the competition.
For the domestic cups, you'll need to reach the FA Cup fifth round and the fourth round of the Carabao Cup to appease the board.
FM20’s tactical options are similar to those from last year, so don’t panic too much about trying to learn your way around a new system.
Wolves have some very talented footballers on their books, so the styles of play you should opt for fit the board's expectations nicely. Gengenpress is the most suitable, as it's very high intensity and doesn't allow the opposition time to think.
Control Possession and Catenaccio are also recommended by assistant manager Rui Pedro Silva. These will be useful for games against bigger clubs.
BATTLE PLAN: The 4-4-2 Diamond narrow is the formation of choice in FM at Molineux
Wolves don't have the best squad depth so you have to be careful which formation you opt for.
A narrow diamond 4-4-2 is the most suitable formation according to FM but the 4-1-4-1 DM wide and 4-2-3-1 wide are also recommended.
Nuno usually plays 3-4-3, so that is also an option but the one that I'd personally recommend is the 4-4-2 as the club's wingers aren't the best at the start of the game.
A back four is definitely the way to go regardless of how you line up further up the park, as a back 3 or 5 would leave you too vulnerable in wide areas at the back.
In the 4-4-2 narrow diamond, your best XI would be Rui Patricio in goal, with a back four of Matt Doherty, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, and Jonny.
Ruben Neves is best for the DM position, with Leander Dendoncker and Joao Moutinho as the two central midfielders. The man playing the number 10 position is Morgan Gibbs-White who is ready for more regular football this season.
The two strikers are Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota.
On the bench, the best seven to opt for are John Ruddy (GK), Jesus Vallejo, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh, Pedro Neto, Jordan Graham, Romain Saiss and Adama Traore.
Wolves' side is one that's a strong contender for best of the rest but a team that needs significant improvements to challenge the top six. There are some special players in your first team, though and here's the best of the lot!
Rui Patricio – CA 4 star (153), PA 4.5 star (157)
BRICK WALL: Wolves' high-rated player is their number 1 between the sticks
We begin at the back, as according to FM, Wolves' most talented player is surprisingly their goalkeeper. Rui Patricio signed for Wolves after their promotion to the Premier League in the Summer of 2018.
Patricio has been a solid stopper at Molineux since, as he continues to Portugal's number 1 choice between the sticks.
Joao Moutinho – CA 4 star (153), PA 4.5 star (155)
PASS MASTER: Moutinho is the standout central midfielder at Wolves
João Mountiho is a player who never got his chance at a top European club but is showing what he's capable of in England. The creative central midfielder is probably the most technically talented player on the books at the West Midlands club.
With over 100 Portugal caps to his name, he's had plenty of success at the Navegadores as well. Despite his talent, he is 32 at the start of the game, which will probably make him easier to keep than some of the other young hotshots in your roster.
Ruben Neves – CA 4 star (150), PA 4.5 star (170)
FUTURE SUPERSTAR, CURRENT GREAT: Neves is a player you will have to keep hold of
Ruben Neves is a player who is already good enough to be a Champions League regular. With a 170 PA, Neves has the highest potential of any of the Wolves squad in FM20.
That talent is a double-edged sword, though, because if you drop out of European competition, Neves will be wanted to go on his way, which would be a huge loss to your side. In fact, unless you progress to the Champions League within a few years, it will be difficult to keep him on your books.
Wolves have produced some good talents such as Gibbs-White but the strength in their current side stems from signings from other clubs.
However, there are currently a few big talents working their ways through the under-23s. These are the best Wolves players who are 20 years old or younger.
Bruno Jordao - CA 3 star (112), PA 4.5 star (149)
Bruno Jordao didn't make much of an impact during his loan spell at Lazio but that didn't stop Wolves from purchasing him for £18m in a double buy from Braga.
Jordao isn't at the standard for the Premier League off the bat but would be an effective loan at a Championship club.
Pedro Neto - CA 2 star (119) PA 3 star (149)
FUTURE STAR: Neto has the highest potential ability of any of Wolves' youngsters.
Pedro Neto was the other half of the double deal that brought in himself and Jordao. Unlike Jordao, Neto has been a regular for Wolves this season, although you wouldn't have guessed that given Neto's 119 CA.
Neto is a player you should consider playing semi-regularly though, as his 149 PA will see him be as good as Moutinho once he matures.
John Kitolano - CA 2 star (103), PA 3 star (135)
John Kitolano may not have made his Wolves debut yet but he is one of the talents in the side with the most potential. At only 19 years old at the start of FM20, he's got plenty of time to improve his attribute and perhaps one day threaten Jonny's starting LB status.
|One on Ones||Overall Depth|
|Rushing out (Tendency)||Transfer Budget|
This is how players fit within your Wolves den.
Team Leaders: Conor Coady, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves
Highly Influential Players; Matt Doherty, Rui Patricio, Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, Willy Boly, Romain Saiss, Ryan Bennett
Dynamics depict the dressing room atmosphere and hierarchy at your club. It is important to keep the team leaders and highly influential players at the club and happy. More playing time and big contracts to other players can see them leap up the tiers, so be sure to keep an eye on this tab so you understand how your team fits together.
For Wolves, you shouldn't much trouble keeping Coady and Moutinho happy, but Neves could prove to be an issue. Clubs that are Champions League regulars will want to purchase the Portuguese midfielder as he improves season-on-season. Jimenez, Jota and Boly will also be difficult to keep a hold of in the coming seasons.
Starting transfer budget: £15 million
Remaining wage budget: £81,000 a week
Wolves have a small transfer budget compared to many Premier League clubs, especially those at the top end. This is thanks to the amount spent in last year's Summer transfer window. No fewer than 18 players were purchased for fees up to £30m.
First team attacking midfielder
There aren't many positions that are crying out for improvement but the weakest is most likely central attacking midfielder (AMC).
Gibbs-White is a prospect for the future but not a player of the quality of those around him yet. £15m can be altered to up to £20m with a transfer budget alteration but this doesn't leave you with much room to buy a great player.
SOLID OPTION: Otavio is the kind of player Wolves need at AMC.
Otavio of Porto is a player that is cheap, young and of the kind of quality that Wolves need in attacking midfield. Otavio is also able to play on both wings, which means that you'll be able to utilise him and Traore in some games.
He can probably be purchased for around £22.5m and ask for a wage under £50k per week, so he's within budget. With a current ability of 140 and a potential to grow to 155, Otavio is a bargain for that price!
Although Otavio isn't Portuguese, he is Brazilian so would have no problem fitting into his new surroundings. You'll have to fight Valencia off for his services, though, so that could cause an issue.
While other areas of the side need cover and strength in depth (such as DL) nobody else can be bought at the start of the game, you'll have to wait until at least the January transfer window for another chance.
Wolves' contract situation isn't bad at the start of FM20 but work has to be done in the coming seasons to keep this squad together. Joao Moutinho's deal expires at the end of the 2019/20 season and should be tied down to a two-year deal asap, he's still got a good few years left in him.
By the end of 2022, Gibbs-White, Patricio, Dendoncker, Saiss, Boly and Jota's deals all end so these players will have to be negotiated with. However, Neves, Neto, Jimenez and Coady are all committed to long-term deals, so there's not much to be concerned about on their front.
Wolves' financial position isn't as bad as what it first appears to be but it isn't good. The bank balance of the club will hit £0 in late 2020 before falling to £50m in debt by the end of the 2021/22 season.
On a more positive note, the wage bill and total expenditure are set to remain relatively constant but the turnover isn't going to dramatically increase.
Winning a trophy or qualifying for the Champions League will see the financial situation improve. If things stay as they are, Wolves' budget can't increase or else financial fair play (FFP) sanctions could be heading your way.
Breaking into the top six
Wolves finished seventh on their return to the Premier League last season, so their next goal will logically be to improve upon that. However, this will be extremely difficult, as the financial might of the top six sides means your Wolves side will have to outperform the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United.
Continued qualification to the Europa League will be tough in itself, although winning the competition will qualify the Wanderers for the Champions League. It will be very tough, though, as the sides at the peak of the Europa league are as good as most UCL clubs.
Although it's not on their agenda, building a new stadium and moving away from Molineux may be the best way to increase revenue but good luck getting that past the board, it's a huge investment.
Full Wolves Player Ratings
|Rui Patricio||31||GK||SK||Defend||4 star||153/157|
|Matt Doherty||27||D/WB (R)||WB||Support||3.5 star||143/153|
|Conor Coady||26||D (C), DM, M (C)||BPD||Stopper||3 star||138/145|
|Willy Boly||28||D (C)||BPD||Defend||3 star||143/147|
|Jonny||25||D (RLC), WB (RL)||FB||Defend||3 star||147/157|
|Ruben Neves||22||DM, M (C)||DLP||Support||3.5 star||150/170|
|Leander Dendoncker||24||D (C), DM, M (C)||BBM||Support||3 star||140/150|
|Joao Moutinho||32||M/AM (C)||DLP||Support||4 star||153/155|
|Morgan Gibbs-White||19||M/AM (C)||AP||Attack||2.5 star||125/140-170|
|Diogo Jota||22||AM (LC), ST (C)||IW||Support||3 star||147/164|
|Raul Jimenez||28||ST (C)||PF||Support||3.5 star||147/154|
|Substitutes & Reserves|
|John Ruddy||32||GK||SK||Defend||2.5 star||127/145|
|Jordan Graham||24||M (L), AM (RL)||IW||Support||2 star||104/125|
|Ryan Bennett||29||D (C)||BPD||Defend||2.5 star||128/132|
|Pedro Neto||19||AM (RLC), ST (C)||IW||Support||2.5 star||119/149|
|Patrick Cutrone||21||ST (C)||PF||Attack||3 star||137/163|
|Ruben Vinagre||20||D/WB/M/AM (L)||CWB||Support||2.5 star||128/140-170|
|Adama Traore||23||WB/M (R), AM (RL)||W||Attack||3 star||137/145|
|Romain Saiss||29||D (C), DM, M (C)||DLP||Defend||2.5 star||127/133|
|Phil Ofosu-Ayeh||27||D/WB (R)||WB||Defend||2 star||115/120|