Fosun International have breathed unparalleled levels of positivity into Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Before they arrived, they were a side languishing in mid-table in the Championship. Yet, Wolves now sit on the cusp of something special.
Last week they finished the job against Crusaders in their first European tie for nearly 40 years and, with that, it signified another giant leap in their evolutionary direction.
Jeff Shi has spoken in the past about his so-called ten-year plan for the football club. Within three years they wanted to get promoted from the Championship.
They’re already ahead of that schedule but they have further ambitions. In August 2018, claims were made that in seven years they wanted to win a Premier League title and qualify for the Champions League.
This is a side with outstanding levels of ambition and it’s a credit to Wolves’ Chinese owners that they’ve come this far.
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Their aims aren’t far from the realms of possibility. After all, Leicester did the unthinkable in 2015/16, winning the division themselves.
If the Foxes can do it, then their fellow Premier League rivals Wolves can do the same.
But that isn’t based merely on speculation, nor is it a throwaway statement because the reality of the situation is that Wolves aren’t far off the top.
The way they were able to lure Ruben Neves – Porto’s captain at the time – to the Championship tells you all you need to know about the pulling power they have and that appears to be in evidence again this summer.
As they gear up for a second season in the top-flight and an assault on the Europa League, they’re on the verge of signing one of the most promising strikers in Europe from an elite club.
Their spending may not stop there, however. Also touted has been Ruben Dias. Yet another star of Portuguese football, the 22-year-old central defender has a buyout clause of a pricey (£57m), though a recent report from A Bola suggests that he will stay at Benfica for at least more season.
Even so, that Wolves are targeting a player of Dias’ calibre is a telling indicator of the legitimacy behind Fosun’s ambitions.
And murmurs in the media suggest that the club are also eyeing two bright sparks in midfield.
Dinamo Zagreb’s Dani Olmo, who scored three times at the European U21 Championships has been linked with a €30m (£27.5m) move, whilst a bid of €35m (£32m) for Gedson Fernandes has been reported by Record, via Sport Witness.
If those deals went through at those prices, it would be at a combined cost of £116.5m. The Premier League is known for its rich investment in players but this would be yet another indication of the sheer muscle it has.
And indeed it would be evidence of the beast Wolves have become too.
Those aren’t signings that you’d typically associate with a mid-table Premier League side. Instead, they’re targeting players who are arguably Champions League standard.
Before Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple was sacked from the club, he told Football Focus, via Birmingham Mail, that Wolves wanted to be one of the best in the league and then European football too.
It’s a colossal aim but these types of players can help take Nuno Santo and his men to where they want to be: competing among the very best.
Ultimately, Wolves are here to stay. There are no two ways about it and no matter how hard you try to make the point that they could suffer from second season syndrome, bringing in players like Jesus Vallejo and Cutrone shows they could be even better equipped.
Check out the reaction to Wolves’ first European game since the ’80s in the video below…
Nuno may have a squad that is thin on the ground but as far as its quality goes, it wouldn’t be a great surprise to see them muscle in on the top six.
After all, Manchester United have found themselves in bother under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whilst Unai Emery’s Arsenal still haven’t invested in their defence.
Fosun’s ten-year plan for Wolves is a big one and it’ll take some doing to reach their ultimate goal. But if you consider the fact they’re already ahead after a matter of years, the sky seems to be the limit.
Whether silverware will follow remains to be seen. However, their owners are currently giving them a tremendous opportunity to achieve something great.