This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ current season is going relatively under the radar.
They sit eighth in the Premier League table and have one foot in the Europa League knockout stages after they opened up a five-point cushion in Group K with victory over Slovan Bratislava last time out.
However, their season could have been so much better. In reality, they could have sprung their name into the elite conversation, that being a place in the top six of the Premier League, something they’ve never achieved in their history.
Their league campaign understandably got off to a slow start, failing to record a victory in their first six matches, but they are now currently unbeaten in seven with fewer defeats than reigning champions Manchester City and Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur.
Although, they have recorded the least amount of victories of any side in the top half, a position they currently hold for the first time since the opening weekend.
In the summer, the task ahead was well known. Wolves had to endure a gruesome qualification campaign to get to where they are in Europe today – they have since played 24 competitive matches, which is likely to be more than any other top-flight team.
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Old gold boss Nuno Santo should have used the off-season to add strength in depth to bolster his team’s chances of bettering last season’s seventh-place finish whilst sufficiently competing on a continental stage.
He did bring in a couple of first-team faces, but not enough.
Take how some of those that finished in the top six last season went into the summer – Chelsea were faced with a transfer ban and the unknown qualities of having a new manager while Manchester United had issues of their own, which have proved to be the difference this campaign.
And in further hindsight, Spurs have struggled to deal with the heartbreak of losing the UCL final with North London rivals Arsenal also failing to impress after splashing £72m on Nicolas Pepe.
All of the above meant that Wolves had a perfect opportunity to slip in and cement their name amongst the best in the league – just look at Leicester City this season, they genuinely look like the only contenders to Liverpool at the moment.
Squad depth, alternative options, and European-quality players were needed. Nuno and Fosun have one chance to rectify that in January. Take advantage.