Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers revealed a damning piece of information into the club’s transfer activity during the January window.
The west Midlanders looked to bolster their thin squad last month but barely succeeded in doing so, adding just one first-team option in Olympiacos winger Daniel Podence. He cost the club £16.9m.
Wolves also brought in Ecuadorian striker Leonardo Campana, although he will initially go into the U23 squad. If he performs there, then it seems likely he is fast-tracked into the senior setup as a result of inadequate squad depth behind Raul Jimenez – he’s the only striker Nuno has.
Which makes his decision all that more baffling.
Spiers wrote in The Athletic this week:
“As recently as last month, when fans were baying for new signings, Thelwell, John Marshall and his recruitment team were believed to have put forward Hwang Hee-chan and Dani Olmo as viable transfer targets. Nuno, who has the final say, preferred to go in another direction and the two most high-profile additions of the window (Daniel Podence and Leonardo Campana) were both Mendes clients.”
This is all quite damning on how the system behind the scenes works, and it will most likely continue to be like this now that sporting director Kevin Thelwell is swapping Wolverhampton for New York by the end of the month.
What Spiers essentially says is that Nuno opted to sign two clients of super-agent Jorge Mendes over two targets that his recruitment team had scouted and suggested.
Of course, the manager should get the final say, but it only goes to show the level of trust the Wolves boss has in Mendes, resulting in him having far too much of an influence at the club.
The Molineux-based side were crying out for a new striker, and Hwang Hee-chan would have been an ideal fit considering their long-term ambitions – the 24-year-old has scored nine goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions for RB Salzburg, including impressive contribution against Liverpool in the Champions League.
That’s in a competition the club are yet to reach, so it would have been some sort of statement of intent if they could have clinched the South Korean.
Whilst they have now missed out on Dani Olmo, who has gone to RB Leipzig after also impressing on Europe’s elite stage.
Central midfield isn’t really a desperate need for Wolves, but the Spanish playmaker would have added a new dimension to their attack, one that could even be the long-term heir to Joao Moutinho’s throne.
Wolves failed to strengthen their main weakness and have potentially missed out on a generational talent, all because of Mendes having two players available relatively cheaply.
That’s not to say they won’t make their mark, but Nuno simply shouldn’t rely so heavily on his fellow countryman, and at the end of the day, agents will only ever be trying to make money for themselves.
And in other news, Wolves boss Nuno Santo provides key injury update over Adama Traore…