Who could be heading towards the exit at Wolves? And what are the areas in need of strengthening? Analysis, insight and opinion on what Wolves need to do in the transfer market this summer...
Tuesday 31 May 2022 09:21, UK
Which positions are Wolves targeting in the summer transfer window? What has Bruno Lage said? And what do the stats say?
While Wolves' goalkeeper Jose Sa was their player of the season and there appears to be some depth in the wing-back position, the personnel in other areas of the pitch are likely to be changed this summer.
Ruben Neves is anticipated to depart after five years at the club, while the contract of his midfield partner Joao Moutinho is up, so the centre of the park is expected to look very different next season.
Romain Saiss, a regular at the back, is another who looks likely to move on so Wolves could look to bolster their defence as well - another position where stability has been the watch-word since their return to the Premier League.
Further forward, goals are needed and the make-up of the attack is difficult to predict. The loans of Morgan Gibbs-White and Adama Traore have come to an end so their futures must be decided. A central striker to challenge Raul Jimenez may also be a target given that Fabio Silva failed to find the net all season.
Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui:
It's a big summer for Wolves with various first-team players potentially reaching the end of their time at the club.
Roman Saiss is leaving at the end of his contract, while Joao Moutinho is still in talks about extending his deal that expires at the end of June.
Following Ruben Neves' form last season expectation is for interest in the Portugal midfielder to step up, while Raul Jimenez turns 32 by the end of next season and may be available for the right price.
There's also Adama Traore, who is expected back from his loan spell at Barcelona but only has 12 months left on his current contract.
That means investment will be needed at centre-back, centre-midfield and potentially up front.
Jimenez was Wolves' top goalscorer this season with six goals - the lowest for any Premier League team. In fact, only three teams in Europe's top-five leagues had their top scorer on fewer goals.
Wolves were also in the bottom four for goals, expected goals, shots and shots on target. Bruno Lage's side scored more than two goals on just three occasions this campaign - only Norwich (one) scored in fewer games.
Meanwhile, summer signing Hwang Hee-chan scored four in his first six games, but only netted once in his next 24 appearances.
Wolves manager Bruno Lage speaking on the last day of the season:
"Maybe we need two or three players to increase the quality and the number of players in the squad. We cannot let what happened two years ago when it's hard to replace a player like Raul [Jimenez]. Nuno [Espirito Santo] suffered the same thing two years ago.
"If you remember, when the team had a good record Raul scored 13 goals, in the second season he scored 17 goals, the last one he scored four and this one he scored six. It's very hard to replace a player like him and if he had an injury like he had last season it's hard.
"It's hard to replace Pedro [Neto], Max [Kilman], and in this moment we don't know if [Romain] Saiss continues with us or not. He is still talking with the club. First we need to bring two or three to increase, then if others go we need to replace them with the same quality."
Sky Sports' Adam Bate:
The main concern among the supporters will be that Lage may not be backed as they would hope. The Wolves coach spoke last summer and in January of the need for greater support but the numbers did not arrive with the club pursuing a more conservative investment strategy in recent times and that could be set to continue.
With clubs below them in the table expected to spend significantly, that will temper expectations and optimism - but it could also be a problem if they underestimate the strength of the Premier League. The money from the anticipated sale of Neves will need to be spent and spent well if Wolves are to enjoy any success.