With the Premier League deadline now far in the distance and the European transfer window set to slam shut this Friday, it’s time to evaluate how English clubs have performed over the summer. Wolves were amongst the top flight’s busiest teams, strengthening a side that achieved promotion at a canter last season with eleven signings – albeit some coming in the form of permanent deals for 2017/18’s Molineux loan stars.
But was that wise business for Nuno Santo’s outfit, our could the Midlands side pay the price for some of their deals over the course of the campaign? Football FanCast’s expert writers debate one simple question – what will prove to be Wolves’ biggest mistake of the transfer window?
“There is no doubt that Wolves made some fantastic signings this summer and their draw with Manchester City proved that. However, the one thing that Santo may have overlooked is the lack of Premier League experience at the club and in his squad. Of all the new additions, only Adama Traore has any history in the Premier League and when the going gets tough further into the season it would have been useful to have an older head in the squad with the ability to lead the younger players through the difficult times. With the Portuguese manager also new to the top flight of English football, he and his players will have to learn fast to fully understand the league and its difficulties.”
“Wolves’ biggest mistake was letting Barry Douglas join Leeds United. Santo has been ambitious in his signings this summer, but Douglas was ready to make that step up to the Premier League. The left-back has shown his quality at Leeds, particularly against Norwich City where he helped the Whites keep their first clean sheet on the road this season.
“Douglas was heavily involved throughout the fixture and looks as though he could be an important player for the team this season. Not only did he commit some crucial tackles, he made a number of clearances and even created a goalscoring opportunity at the other end of the pitch. Wolves bought well during the summer months, but if Douglas goes from strength to strength at Elland Road, they may end up wishing that he stayed put, particularly if the club suffer from injury problems.”
“While Wolves had a relatively successful summer in the transfer market, you do have to wonder whether they significantly strengthened their centre-back options – something that can be so crucial when you make the step up to the Premier League. Yes, the likes of Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett deserved the chance to stake their claim in the top flight after such a brilliant Championship winning-campaign, but you can’t help but feel that a little more experience – they could have tried to sign Chelsea outcast Gary Cahill for example – and know-how in that area could have been a key positive for Santo in the opening months of the campaign.”
“Wolves have taken a risk with their centre-forward options. Santo has taken a big gamble on Raul Jimenez, a summer arrival from Benfica, and the Mexican has looked sharp in the Premier League so far. His record in recent seasons is fairly uninspiring though, as has been his injury record in the last couple of years, and he’s as yet a relatively untested quantity when it comes to leading the line for an entire season at such a high level.
“If Jimenez fails to kick on or succumbs to injury, Leo Bonatini – who hasn’t scored a goal in 2018 – is the only first team back up option naturally suited to playing through the middle. Wolves could well find themselves leaning heavily upon goals from the flanks, delivered by the likes of Diogo Jota and Helder Costa. In a summer in which both Danny Ings and Michy Batshuayi were available, this is a situation that could have been avoided.”