When Wolves announced on Friday that Nuno Santo would be resigning from his role at the end of the season, it was a sad day for the club.
It marked the end of a happy and rosy four years at Molineux, a stint in which he took Wolves from a middle of the road Championship team to one able to compete for European football.
A bottom-half finish may be a poor way to go out but, in the words of Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, he leaves as a “legend”.
Nuno’s final game in charge of the Old Gold will be against Manchester United at Molineux on Sunday afternoon. Wolves have typically done rather well against the Premier League’s big six since being promoted, and a victory against one the league’s title contenders this term would be a great way for the 47-year-old to bow out.
The manager has experimented in recent weeks with a view to next term and, despite the fact that he’ll be leaving, he should do so again this weekend.
We’ve seen Morgan Gibbs-White and Vitinha earn more minutes in recent weeks but one player we’re yet to see at senior level is Christian Marques.
The Swiss centre-back is the most expensive signing in the history of Wolves’ academy after the Midlands side beat Bayern Munich to his signature a few years ago.
Thought to be in the mould of Conor Coady, Marques has already captained his country at youth level and skippered the Old Gold’s under-18 and under-23 sides.
The defender is a natural-born leader and Darren Ryan, Wolves’ elite player development coach, thinks he has something in him not often seen. “It’s rare for a youngster coming from another country to show such leadership,” he told The Athletic.
Aged just 18, the central defender is a wonderful talent, someone who Harry Hooman – now Wolves’ head of UK academy recruitment – described as “outstanding” during initial scouting.
It would be a considerable baptism of fire to hand him his first team debut against the might of Manchester United but Wolves should certainly consider it. After all, they have nothing but pride to play for during Nuno’s final game in charge of the club.
The Wolves manager has already handed a debut to Theo Corbeanu in recent weeks, so this time it should be the turn of Marques.
He has appeared on the bench in the Premier League in four games so is clearly on their radar for a senior berth. That needs to happen this weekend; there is no better time with nothing riding on the game.