What mountains must Wolves climb this summer to prepare for the Premier League? Andy Gillard sets out the peaks to overcome.
The Never-Ending Challenge: The 141st Chapter
Well that was exciting wasn’t it?
Award winning manger, players and backroom staff, plaudits from pundits and opposition fans like never before.
Some of the best players seen in this or any generation and a city drowning in optimism.
Yet football, like an 80’s film franchise, is a Never-Ending Story and on we go to the Premier League with all of the challenges it brings, here are just a few Wolves will come face-to-face with in the short-term.
The Summer Squad Re-Shape
Thankfully this is the first Fosun-era pre-seasons where Wolves have a settled, organised back-room team. Almost all of the questions raised will be surrounding the playing staff.
This is the team which we are taking into the transfer window;
It feels unlikely those still out on loan will be welcomed back into the fold.
Those players in yellow have unresolved futures at the club.
You can see a team lacking in depth and what little depth we do have doesn’t strike as possessing a vast amount of quality.
Those names in yellow have been touted as leaving (either permanently or on-loan).
If you were to remove those from the squad too, then you would struggle to field a starting 11.
Anybody thinking of a busy transfer window ahead then?
A new keeper, couple new centre-backs, couple full-backs, couple midfielders and a couple strikers will all be required for our assault on the Prem.
Transfer talk takes us nicely to the next challenge;
FFP (Fosun’s Funding Policy)
With all of the (hopefully) incoming transfers, we will need to ensure the books are balanced and unfortunately FFP does not create a level playing field for this.
It only serves to keep the big teams feeding at the table, and the rest fighting for the scraps.
For Fosun outbidding any of the Top 6 would be fairly easy, however having been in the wilderness for a few seasons now we start with a handicap.
A club such as Everton have years of Premier League money behind them, meaning they can be more frivolous with their spending, whereas our footballing FFP bank will be limited to the moneys from Championship football.
We will need to box clever to get our targets.
To avoid a monstrous outlay, expect the loan market to be utilised much like it was this last year.
Bringing in superstars with a view to permanent moves is a way to circumvent the restrictive and unfair FFP issues.
If we are to sign 8-10 players as probably required, expect 50% of these to be on a temporary basis, at least initially.
“And how do you propose we get all these superstars?” I hear you ask, well that’s the next challenge we face.
Uncle Jorge’s Influence
Picture this, Fosun representatives rocking up to a Premier League meeting like Hall and Nash in 1996 and proclaiming “this is where the big boys play, eh?”.
The feathers ruffled will keep pillow companies in downy for years to come.
Whilst the EFL cleared the working relationship with Mendes, it has been reported that the Premier League will open their own investigation into matters as they have their own set of rules and they often do as they please.
It will only take Wolves beating one of the entitled, chosen clubs to a superstar player and then rather than Leeds and Villa moaning, it’ll be Arsenal and Liverpool.
Let’s be honest, the Premier League has shown time and again that it cares more about keeping its top 6 happy than it does the remaining 70%.
In a recent interview Jeff Shi said he knows every rule in the book, and that everything is above board.
With any questions asked will come greater media scrutiny.
Whilst we have already had a taste of this, it will be made a much bigger deal in the Premier League, especially if it comes at the expense of a media favourite.
Fosun didn’t get to be one of the biggest companies in the world without rising to multiple challenges.
So we should have faith they know how to get where they’re going, and in Nuno we know the on-field side will be up for any battle put in-front of them.
With that double-header leading us into these challenges the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Listen to Part 2 of our End of Season Podcast and discover more chat about the summer to come here.