Jeff Shi: We’ll plough cash into Wolves academy
Wolves will invest ‘heavily’ in their academy as they look to produce top young stars to help bulk out the first-team squad.
Morgan Gibbs-White was the only academy graduate to feature regularly in Wolves’ first team last season and academy chiefs have admitted it will be hard for others to follow suit.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s preference is for a small squad of senior pros to be backed up by youngsters from the under-23s.
Executive chairman Jeff Shi told the Express & Star that owners Fosun will pledge big sums of cash to make sure those youngsters are of the required standard.
“That will be a key part of our strategy,” he said. “We’ll invest heavily into the academy, especially in quality young players.
“You have to have the young players for when we need them. Our academy should keep improving until one day you have six or seven young players that are really top, so when we need them it doesn’t matter how large the first-team squad is.
“Also it’s very good for a young player who would maybe have a golden chance to play in Europe. That’s our strategy.”
Work has continued at a regular pace to improve the facilities at Compton Park, with a seven-figure investment last summer.
Shi revealed that a new top-quality academy pitch is now being laid.
“We are building a new pitch – we have two now that are very good but the academy pitches are not so good, so we’re building one that’s the same quality as the two first-team pitches,” he added.
“In the future we’ll have four, five or six very good pitches. It takes time but we’ll get there.”
Wolves are also considering either building a small under-23 stadium, similar to Manchester City’s, or finding a new venue.
“If we can find a stadium that exists it would be perfect but it depends how close the partnership between the two clubs is,” Shi added.