If Nuno Espirito Santo left Wolves, it would leave a great big hole at Molineux.
The Portuguese manager has been such a huge part of the Old Gold’s development in the last few years, guiding them from the Championship to European football.
They are now an established Premier League club and Nuno has consequently caught the interest of Tottenham.
This isn’t the first time that their manager has been coveted by clubs elsewhere – Arsenal were chasing the Wolves boss after they sacked Unai Emery in 2019.
However, after Jose Mourinho was sacked by Spurs, he is now an option for the Lilywhites. Wolves are well aware of how sought-after their manager is and they have duly begun to draw up contingency plans.
The Daily Mail reported this week that they were considering a list of candidates in case Nuno departs in the coming months.
The report revealed three names the Midlands outfit had already considered contacting – Vitor Pereira, Rui Faria and Bruno Lage.
The latter is someone who Jeff Shi has admired for the best part of two years, and it’s clear to see why – he develops talent for the future.
When Lage was in charge of Benfica, he delved into the youth ranks of the Liga NOS outfit to give them a bigger and better squad.
In doing so, he uncovered the likes of Ruben Dias, Florentino Luis and Gedson Fernandes. He guided the Lisbon giants to a league title in 2018/19, sparking a “spectacular” revival at the Estadio da Luz.
However, Lage’s biggest success story to date has to be the effervescent Joao Felix. It was under the 44-year-old that the current Atletico Madrid maestro made a proper breakthrough in Portugal and it’s under Lage that he has flourished the most so far in his career.
Back in his homeland, the attacking midfielder racked up 17 goals and ten assists in just 29 outings with Lage at the helm. Felix was only a teenager at the time but that form earned him a move to Atletico Madrid in a deal worth £113m – the fifth-most expensive transfer in history.
It’s evident that Lage is good at working with young players, so his potential arrival at Molineux could be game-changing for a certain Fabio Silva.
The 18-year-old set Wolves back £35.6m last summer but he’s had a pretty disastrous spell in England so far. Silva has scored just three goals all season and, rather than his football catching the eye, it’s his luscious locks which have been a source of debate.
He has scored and assisted a crucial goal for Adama Traore this month as the teenager finally begins to show signs of his high potential, but Nuno is yet to really extract the very best from him.
That could be different with Lage in the dugout. He had immense success with Dias before his move to Manchester City and turned Felix into a world phenomenon. Like Silva, the Atletico Madrid star was a bushy-haired prodigy before Lage got to develop his game.
It would be a very exciting time for the youngster if Shi hires the former Benfica manager as Nuno’s eventual successor.