It must be an exciting time to be part of the passionate parade in Wolverhampton. New signings, high hopes and Ruben Neves firing, already.
There is no doubting that the West Midlands club have had a thrilling summer overhaul and have brought in many strong signings. Why so many? The policy seems to have been taken in order to establish themselves in the Premier League and maintain their status. But, could this cause some disruption amongst the players at the club or is it a smart move?
Two defeats from two in the Premier League can make for grim reading but it is important that Wolves supporters do not panic. They performed very well against Leicester and were left to rue the woodwork on a few occasions – more performances like that will bring results.
Relatively young for a manager, Nuno Espirito Santo shone for Wolves last season which saw them win the Championship by nine points. He instilled an attacking philosophy at Molineux which aided them to boast the most potent attack in the league counteracting which them having the joint best defensive record with Cardiff City. It was definitely a season to commemorate.
It is not often that sides would be deemed to have enough quality when making the step up from the Championship. However, due to Wolves’ dominance last season, many pundits predicted their safety before signings were even made and before a ball was kicked.
Embarking on their challenge to administer their best chances of remaining a Premier League side, Wolves spent significantly on improving the squad further.
High calibre signings of the likes of Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho have not only just given the Wolves faithful great hope and expectation of a promising return to England’s top flight, but also many pundits see them making push a top half finish.
Owned by Chinese conglomerate, Fosun International, they have made it clear what their aspirations are since taking over in 2016. Breaking their transfer-record with the signing of Adama Traore for £18 million, the powerful winger joins a host of players at the club.
A total of seven new faces have entered the project in the West Midlands, along with four additional loans being made permanent which meant that Wolves spent a whopping £64 million in the summer transfer window.
But, if anyone remembers Everton and Ronald Koeman, it is something to learn by. The Toffees spent over £160 million in the summer of the 17/18 season. Although the spending is massively different, Everton showed that a new haul of players doesn’t always work immediately.
You can never take the fact away that promoted clubs will spend money, but it is how they finance those new faces. Aswell as promotion bonuses, sometimes players need to leave to free up funds to accommodate.
A big shock to Wolves fans, was seeing the departure of Barry Douglas to Leeds. Douglas topped the assist charts last season which could show signs of a possible lack of respect to a Molineux favourite.
Another player who this could relate to, is John Ruddy. The goalkeeper starred for Wolves last season, making 45 starts and being a prominent figure in their promotion. But, he now faces severe competition to win back the gloves.
Portuguese international and Euro 2016 winner, Rui Patricio, was brought in on a free transfer. Albeit, Patricio is a major coup for the club, but Ruddy will feel incredibly hard done by.
Speaking on BT Sport, a dignified John Ruddy said he was hopeful on finding a solution and said he will always support whoever is between the sticks. He also highlighted the talent brought in at Molineux with Romain Saiss who had “a fantastic season last year” sat on the bench.
The key nucleus and core of promoted clubs tends to remain the same in their early games, however with the new signings coming in at Wolves this could see a drastic transformation.
It is doubtful, though, that Nuno will make such radical changes right away, but instead, he will embed these new signings into the side gradually. He won’t want to upset the current vibe.
Leo Bonatini was Wolves’ main striker throughout last campaign, but his position could be thwarted after the arrival of Raul Jimenez from Benfica – especially after heading in a late equaliser against Everton last weekend.
Competition is always very healthy in any squad, regardless of the stature of the club and it is one which managers behold. Although they are a world class sides, look at Man City and Bayern Munich for example. However, this is down to the quality of the manager which we will see this season in Nuno.
Managing a series of players who would all argue they would be in most teams’ starting XI outside the top six, it comes down to man management skills and how Nuno can keep his whole squad happy. In time, this will come with any success the team achieve, especially when they deem themselves good enough and warrant a starting place. That will be his biggest task.
It is palpable that the squad repping the gold and black is a talented one, but what is considered a poor season for Wolves? Finishing the season in the bottom half?
Their main target should still be to stay up, but with so much pressure coming from neutrals it would be unfair to see their season a failure if they don’t reach the heights predicted of them.
After Nuno’s title success last season, he showed his ability to integrate his own signings into the squad quickly. If he can repeat that this season, then Wolves will be a frightening prospect for their opponents this season.
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