After Wolverhampton Wanderers’ dramatic rise back to the top level of English football a few years ago under new owners Fosun and their incredible ties to super agent Jorge Mendes, Wolves fans enjoyed some good football with a number of players coming in that fans simply would not have expected them to be able to sign.
The likes of Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, and others, soon turned up and helped propel them back to the upper reaches of the Premier League table, and they even tasted a European adventure again. The last few years have slowly turned into a little bit of a different story though.
The owners investment seemed to cease, and rather than stellar signings coming in during recent years, fans have seen players move on at an increasingly rapid rate and this summer alone they have seen Neves, Conor Coady and Raul Jimenez all move on for pastures new.
Fans are not just worrying about further sales, it is now being reported that talks are at a very advanced stage for manager Julen Lopetagui to leave the club before his contract expires, as he is unhappy about the spending promises given to him originally and it has long been known that he wanted to quit before the 2023/24 campaign kicked off. In fact, talks are at such an advanced stage that as I’ve been writing, his departure has been officially announced.
Talks had been said to be very amicable because Wolves appreciate that their earlier promises can now not be met with Financial Fair Play issues looming large, and Wolves fans will certainly be fearing the future given how things have turned, and they will probably not take much solace in reports that former AFC Bournemouth gaffer Gary O’Neil is the boards preferred choice to take over from Lopetegui.
The club, in fairness, have been open and largely honest about the situation they now face and although Sporting Director Matt Hobbs recently claimed that their manager was ‘committed’ to the club when clearly he was not, chairman Jeff Shi’s open letter to the fans did spell things out.
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Despite that though, fans will wonder in light of recent spending why FFP provisions are now an issue, when they were not in previous years, and given owners can put in a ringfenced amount each year to offset debt – it will beg questions of them, even though Shi’s statement insisted they had no intention of selling the club.
If this is a reset year for the club, fans would probably accept that, but it could well be an interesting season ahead as the Premier League battle is likely to be tougher than ever, and Wolves will not want to suffer Leicester City’s fate even if they appear to be treading the same path now.
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