The international break finally came to a close and domestic soccer will return. Before we get back to the action, I want to dive into the comings and goings of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, or better known as the Wolves. At the BRKDWN, we have a handful of Wolves supporters, including myself, and I felt it was appropriate to give a recap of the business done by the club during this tumultuous summer transfer window.
Before the break, the last win against Fulham was a needed three points. It did not instill a whole lot of confidence in me, and it was a little closer than I’d hoped. Last year it took the Wolves seven games to pick up their first win, so having two wins in the first four games is a great start. Although recent results have been inconsistent to put it nicely, I think it is only a matter of time until this squad fully gels and wins start piling up. The image below gives a brief summary of the “In” and “Out” for the Wolves this transfer window.
Let’s first cover the sad bits of who departed Wolverhampton in this transfer window. This starts with two Wolverhampton staples leaving and I will get to them shortly. I’ll give my two cents on the few smaller deals first. The Helder Costa deal was effectively finalized last year, as he was on loan with Leeds, but a nice chunk of change, nonetheless.
In terms of new deals this year, Ruben Vinagre moved on a loan deal with Olympiacos, with an option to buy next year close to $30 million. While it is sad to lose a player with seemingly so much potential, to possibly bring in that type of transfer fee next summer would be massive if the Greek side ends up paying it. If not, Vinagre picks up more playing time and experience, giving him an increased chance of stepping back into the squad next year.
Bruno Jordao joined Famalicão on loan while Gibbs-White joined Swansea. As a Morgan Gibbs-White jersey owner (don’t ask me why), I really hope the local lad is able to get the needed playing time and finally makes the leap to be a Premier League caliber player. He seems to constantly be the next up and coming player, so a little change of pace may be good for him.
First off, what a shock this transfer was that seemingly came to surprise everyone. And second, what a steal Tottenham got for getting him under $20 million. Jose Mourinho must have loved what he saw from Doherty while at Wolves because this was announced and finalized very early into the transfer window. If Wolves were able to get 5-10 million more for Doherty, I would have felt much better about this transfer. This is especially true given how much we paid for his eventual replacement at right wingback.
While he isn’t the strongest defender, Doherty offered a lot going forward and will continue to excel in the same role while at Tottenham. He has hit his ceiling in terms of potential, so Spurs fans are getting what they see. The special moments Doherty gave to Wolves cannot be replicated. There were a number of available replacements out there, so I fully understand moving on from him, especially if Doherty wanted out. Given all that he accomplished while at Wolves, it is sad seeing him in a different jersey this year. I will be rooting for him to shine in all but two games this year.
When I first heard this transfer was finalized, I wasn’t totally shocked. Jota did not have a consistent place in the starting 11 over the restart period and was only going to play a limited role off the bench for Wolves this year considering Wolves don’t have as many games to worry about this season. When I heard the team he was going to, I was more excited for him than anything. Getting to play for Liverpool under a coach who loves young attacking players couldn’t have been a better fit for him. I really do hope Klopp can turn him into a world beater, and I wouldn’t even be upset about it. Jota wouldn’t have gotten the playing time he needed, and I know Klopp will be able to get even more out of him.
His transfer fee is a little inflated, given the player that moved to Wolves from Liverpool. Still, I think the money brought in for Jota, a player who wasn’t even going to be the first player off the bench for Wolves, was a great piece of business.
I was able to break the other players up into categories or were important enough to give them their own section, except for Vitinha. I don’t know much about him, besides that he is another young Portuguese player joining from Porto with loads of potential. He should give Wolves some extra depth in midfield and seemingly replaces the Gibbs-White spot. The option to buy clause also makes this an intriguing signing with the ability to make it permanent if all goes well.
Besides the wonderkid discussed below, a majority of this summer’s investment went into the defensive side of the ball for the Midlands club. With Johnny recovering from a torn ACL, Doherty and Vinagre sold off, and general lack of depth this investment was much needed to round out the squad. Speaking of Vinagre, his immediate replacement was bought from Angers. Rayan Ait-Nouri is the man. I’d be a huge fan of this deal if it’s made permanent, as he may be the next top left-back in the world and was sought after by others like PSG.
All the same could be said for Hoever. However, he will most likely play right and center back. There is a ton of potential in the Dutch player, and Wolves now have two young defenders who hopefully lead their back line in the future.
Now we can get into the two guys who will take on much more playing time. To start, I think Marcal was a great, cheap addition to this squad. He is fairly old, at 31, but he brings a ton of experience having just played for Lyon in the Champions League semi-final. He has already missed a few games due to injury but when he gets back, he will continue to provide valuable depth to this backline. For the cheap price, this Brazilian can fill a few immediate needs.
Nelson Semedo was the biggest money signing for Wolves this year and he filled an immediate need after Doherty left. Given the price tag, a lot will be expected out of him from the fans around Molineux. While I do think Semedo should be more productive than Doherty at some point (which is a high expectation), it may take a little while to get there. He will have to learn and grow into the wingback role used by Nuno. The more playing time he gets in the system, the more dynamic he will become on the offensive side of the ball. I hope he can also contribute with a solid defensive savvy. If he can even slightly surpass Doherty’s production, I think most Wolves fans would be satisfied, despite the hefty price.
When this signing was first announced, I really didn’t believe it. Even though he fits perfectly into the typical Wolves signing (Portuguese, young, from Porto), I still didn’t believe it. If you are aware of the Football Manager series, you most likely know of this wonderkid. He is not just one of the highest rated strikers in the game, the potential carries over to the actual world. I am not sure how much playing time or starts he will receive this year, but Silva gives Wolves a little bit of a safety net behind Raul. Both in terms of potential injury and as a future past Raul for whenever he leaves or retires. I am hoping for the later but in this last window it seemed inevitable, and to have Silva waiting in the wings would make things easier if the Mexican striker ever makes an exit. I will let the play from the young pure striker do the talking before giving any opinion on his play style or form.
Only time will tell how successful Fabio Silva and this transfer window as a whole will turn out. I could not be more satisfied with Wolves transfers this summer and think they did a tremendous job given the current transfer climate, and the unexpected departures of some of their most pivotal players from past years. Wolves not only got younger, upgrading for the future, they also have a deeper squad that will be built to return to, and succeed in, UEFA competitions next year.
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