Wolves have built their Premier League success thus far through shrewd signings and a rarely changed starting XI, something coach Nuno Espírito Santo evidently deems very important in building a winning side.
The Wanderers’ rapid ascent to the top six in the league has been carefully constructed and with the team still in the Europa League – as things stand – it’s a real sign that they are beginning to develop into a powerful outfit.
So let’s look ahead to next season and see which positions Wolves may make some additions to and what their XI could look like when the new season starts, whenever that may be.
GK – Rui Patrício
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Portugal’s most capped goalkeeper Patrício is 32 and arguably at the peak of his powers, which makes Wolves’ purchase of the stopper from Sporting CP two summers ago one of the most shrewd signings in recent years.
Patricio has managed eight clean sheets this season, only one fewer than Manchester City’s Ederson, and his distribution has improved massively under his new manager.
The target next season is to reinforce certain areas of the pitch where players may be approaching their peaks, but looking at his recent performances Patrício certainly has more seasons left at the highest level.
CB – Willy Boly
It’s no real surprise that Wolves struggled defensively earlier in the season without this man. French centre half Boly is integral to Wolves’ formation and the solid base that defines the beginning of their attacking moves.
Signed initially on loan from Porto in 2017, Boly also contributed some vital goals last season, mostly with his great heading ability. Remarkably, he is yet to receive an international call up despite his consistent displays – although in all fairness, France are pretty well stocked in central defence.
His absence due to injury this season was felt but he certainly remains part of Nuno’s long term plans at Molineux. The use of the 3-5-2 formation also means that Boly’s place is pretty secure.
CB – Conor Coady
Another player who should have been internationally capped by now. Coady is one of the best English defenders in the country and has lead Wolves with aplomb over the last couple of seasons.
The former Liverpool academy graduate has gradually grown through the leagues and in the last couple of seasons under Nuno, has really found his feet. Playing in the heart of the defence, Coady possesses great ball control and distribution, ideal for that position.
The Wolves captain is still only 27 and has plenty of years left to solidify his status as a club legend. Plus it’s always good to have some Merseyside grit in a side brimming with flair.
CB – Christian Luyindama
This move could be harsh on Roman Saïss, who has had a very good season as the third centre back in the Wolves side. But he is not a total natural in the position and if Wolves are to challenge the big boys on a consistent basis, they will need some reinforcements.
Congolese defender Luyindama has been heavily linked with Wolves over the last two transfer windows but a serious knee injury that required surgery last November put a stop to any move in January. It is now thought he could be brought in to sure up the back five and provide more physicality.
The 26 year old is a 6’3 powerhouse and can also play in midfield if needed, something Nuno values in his defensive positions with the likes of Saïss and Leander Dendoncker able to play similar dual roles too.
RWB – Matt Doherty
Doherty is another player who was greatly missed through injury earlier this season. Last term was his coming of age, as he contributed four goals and seven assists in his debut Premier League campaign.
A player who, like Coady, has spent most of his career at Wolves and under Nuno has found another gear to his game, Doherty is a marauding right back with great crossing and heading ability.
The Irishman is one of the most consistent players in the Premier League and looks to be one of the first names on the team sheet at Molineux.
LWB – Jonny
A great foil for Doherty on the other flank with his more defensive game, Jonny was signed from Atlético Madrid in 2018 having never played a first team game for the La Liga side. But the Spain international has shown real composure and nouse in his first two seasons in England.
Great on the ball and even better off it, Jonny has one of the best interception rates in the league and allows the players ahead of him on the left like Joao Moutinho and Diogo Jota freedom of movement.
Despite the emergence of talented youngster Ruben Vinagre, Jonny looks to be first choice on the left for the foreseeable future and Wolves are better for it.
CM – Ruben Neves
An outstanding talent and still only 23, Neves has the world at his feet. Initially a defensive player, Neves has found himself in a more attacking role in the past year and the team have benefited immensely.
One of the best dead ball specialists in the league and with the ability to cover all areas of the midfield with assurance and maturity, Neves is surely destined for a big money move in the not too distant future.
Wolves will be hoping they can squeeze a few more seasons out of the Portuguese star and that he can became the main man in the midfield when Moutinho calls it a day.
CM – João Palhinha
What’s this? Oh, it’s another Portuguese player who Wolves have cherrypicked from obscurity. Palhinha has been rumoured to be on Santo’s transfer list for this summer and it’s easy to see why.
The defensive midfielder has been on loan at Braga from Sporting CP since 2018. A tall, strong presence with great tackling ability and a good shot from outside the box, Palhinha could either be a long term replacement for Neves or rotate in for the veteran Moutinho when he needs a rest.
Having played against Wolves for Braga during this season’s Europa League, Palhinha clearly caught the eye and could be set for a move to the Midlands this summer.
RW – Adama Traoré
The immensely powerful Adama Traoré has had a breakthrough season after years of promise that hadn’t quite been fulfilled. The turnaround has been so dramatic that he’s been heavily linked with Liverpool among others this summer.
Having started at Barcelona as a youngster, Traoré has journeyed through with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough before settling at Wolves and has slowly discovered the killer end product that had eluded him previously.
Among the fastest players in Europe, Traoré has added a new sense of dynamism to Wolves’ attack and his link up play with Jiménez is beginning to pay dividends. For Wolves’ sake, let’s hope they can keep hold of him.
LW – Diogo Jota
Jota is still only 23 and is the perfect player for Santo as he can play anywhere across the forward positions. That being said, he is at his most lethal when cutting inside from the left flank with his excellent turn of pace.
An excellent dribbler with great finishing ability, Jota has proven his worth to Wolves in the last two league seasons, contributing 15 goals and six assists, including a memorable hat-trick against Leicester in a 4-3 win last season.
He is also particularly prolific in Europe, hitting two further triples in back to back games in this year’s Europa League campaign. There’s certainly more to come from this exciting Portuguese talent.
ST – Raúl Jiménez
Completing the front three is Wolves’ most prized asset. Jiménez has proven to be Wolves’ best acquisition since their return to the Premier League.
Signed from Benfica initially on loan, the Mexican struck 13 league goals and made eight assists last season and had virtually already matched that record this time around by the time the season was paused.
Physically imposing, great at holding the ball up and a real poacher in the box, Jiménez is the complete forward. Now permanently a Wolves player, he is in big demand across Europe and Wolves will do well to hold onto him in the next year.