Wolves braced for difficult summer

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Sporting director Kevin Thelwell has warned that Wolves may struggle to buy players before the World Cup.

Sporting director Kevin Thelwell (second from left) with director John Gough, head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, managing director Laurie Dalrymple and executive chairman Jeff Shi (© AMA / James Baylis)

The window to buy players is shorter this summer with the transfer deadline shutting before the season starts, as opposed to the usual end of August deadline.

And with the World Cup not ending until mid-July, there could be a mad dash to get players in ahead of the Premier League kicking off.

"It's going to be really difficult," Thelwell said. "Some players might want to make decisions before the World Cup, but not many.

"Players in it are hoping to do well and earn stronger deals.

"There's not a lot of time to play with in terms of the summer. There's lots of activity with the World Cup and the window closing earlier.

"The good thing on our side is we know who we are and where we are and we've managed to get some of our ducks in a row a little bit earlier than some clubs.

"We have to use that to our advantage to maybe get some deals done early.

"It's another difficult problem to solve.


"The hard work's already started, it's going to be a long summer and we're looking forward to the challenge.

"We want to make Wolves the team they should be, a strong Premier League contender that's actively playing in the top end of that league as opposed to struggling down the bottom."

Wolves had six loan players in their squad during their title-winning campaign and each of them – Willy Boly, Diogo Jota, Alfred N'Diaye, Benik Afobe, Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre – made an impact.

A £13million deal for Jota has already been agreed but decisions need to be made on the other five.


Thelwell also suggested plenty of players could move on this summer, with Wolves keep to have a smaller squad of quality rather than quantity to create team cohesion.

"The loan players have done a fantastic job and we've got some big decisions to make," he added.

"They've all proved they're completely capable of playing for Wolves and at a higher level.

"We've got a high level squad list with lots of players on it.

"We had a similar situation last summer when we moved a lot of players out on loan and did some sales.

"The most important thing is creating that team cohesion that Nuno wants. That's very difficult to do when you have lots of players around who perhaps don't feel their future is here.

"We have to make sure the make up of the first team squad is correct.

"We don't have to sell before we can buy, which is a really positive situation."

Thelwell has been criticised by supporters in the past but he was keen not to hog the limelight despite Wolves' success in the transfer market.

"The life of a sporting director is not an easy path," he said.

"Football is a game of high pressure, high opinion. That's what makes it such a beautiful game.

"I'm just delighted to have played my part in what's been an outstanding season."

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living


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