Despite the disappointment that surrounded the 2016/17 season, Wolves fans are again optimistic of a promotion pushing season. This is largely due to the new owners Fosun International, and their willingness to throw money at the squad. Fosun took a stance of drastic change at Molineux, bringing in 16 players, breaking the transfer record twice, promises of huge investment and appointing a charismatic if unknown manager. Yet, Wolves managed to finish one place lower than in their previous season. So that begs the question;
What went wrong last year and why is this year any different?
Fosun took over Wolves a mere 2 weeks before the start of the season. At this point, Wolves had stuttered their way to 14th place in an instantly forgettable season of few highs. Kenny Jackett was in the hot seat prior to the arrival of Fosun and was sacked a few days into their reign. They rushed into the appointment of unknown manager Walter Zenga, who rarely lasted more than a year at any of his previous clubs.
Away from this, the board, along with super-agent Jorge Mendes were panic buying in the hope to be ready for the season. A number of loan signings failed to live up to expectation, and the permanent ones were a mixed bag. Helder Costa and Ivan Cavalerio were a few successes in what was otherwise a lacklustre transfer market. This combined with an unsettled squad and a head coach who wasn’t in England outside of match days meant that by October, any hype surrounding that season had died. Zenga was sacked and replaced by Lambert. Wolves’ form looked like it was on the way up, with cup victories over Stoke and Liverpool the highlights of the season's remainder. Wolves were shockingly drawn into a relegation battle in February 2017, but 6 wins in a row had seen the club move comfortably away from the dreaded dotted line and finish 15th. This was a huge underachievement for a side tipped for a top six finish.
One thing Wolves were missing for the whole of last season, was a prolific goal scorer. Wolves were relatively tight at the back, but struggled, despite players such as Costa, Cavalerio, Weimann and the return of Dicko, to find a regular goal scorer.
If Wolves can get hold of one or two for the 2017/18 season, then no doubt they will be favourites for the top 6. Strikers such as Britt Assombalonga and Sam Gallagher, both of whom are known for their Championship goal scoring ability, have been linked with the Midlands club, and either would be superb addition to a side needing attacking power.
At the time of writing, they had already smashed their transfer record 3 times in 12 months, the most recent of these being Ruben Neves from FC Porto for a reported 15 million pounds. Along with 7 other signings, most of which are defensive, will surely strengthen their side. The quality of these signings is more apparent than the previous season, 3 of them coming from Porto. The side are also strengthened by the free transfer of former England international John Ruddy and the ‘best goalkeeper in League Two’, Will Norris who will be filling in for Carl Ikeme.
Outside of this, the new head coach Nuno Santo and his 3-4-3 formation look set to take the Championship by storm, with players already in team who will suit this new formation! The owners have had a whole year to implement their new strategies and the head coach has had the summer and a big transfer kitty to make the team his own.
Small things such as a new pitch and the plan to install new TV screens also gives Molineux a facelift, which will no doubt be good for the players and fans.
These reasons and hopefully more (the signing of a marquee striker) should hopefully see the Wolves challenging for promotion to the Premier League.