What Could Go Wrong? Wolverhampton 18/19 Season Preview

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Wolverhampton won the Championship with ease last season and are cruising into the Premier League after dropping top dollar this summer. With loads of new talent,  how will Wolves fair back in England’s top league?

Who’s In?

  • Adama Traore — 22 — Right Winger — Middlesbrough — $20.7M
  • Diogo Jota — 21 — Left Winger — Atletico Madrid — $14.5M
  • Willy Boly — 27 — Center Back — FC Porto — $12.4M
  • Benik Afobe — 25 — Striker — Bournemouth — $11.8M
  • Joao Moutinho — 31 — Central Midfielder — Monaco — $5.8M
  • Leo Bonatini — 24 — Striker — Hilal — $4.1M
  • Raul Jimenez — 27 — Striker — Benfica — Loan ($3.1M)
  • Rui Patrício — 30 — Goalkeeper — Sporting CP — Free
  • Ruben Vinagre — 19 — Leftback — Monaco B — ?
  • Jonny Castro — 24 — Leftback — Atletico Madrid — Loan
  • Leander Dendoncker — 23 — Defensive Midfielder — Anderlecht — Loan

Who’s Out?

  • Benik Afobe — 25 — Striker — Stoke City — $14M (Loan?)
  • Barry Douglas — 28 — Leftback — Leeds — $3.5M
  • Ben Marshall — 27 — Right Midfielder — Norwich — $1.7M
  • Harry Burgoyne — 21 — Goalkeeper — Plymouth — Loan
  • Jon Flatt — 23 — Goalkeeper — Scunthorpe United — Free
  • Rafa Mir — 21 — Center Forward — UD Las Palmas — Loan
  • Prince Oniangue — 29 — Central Midfielder — SM Caen — ?
  • Aaron Collins — 21 — Striker — Colchester — Loan

European Chances

Cardiff City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship - Cardiff City Stadium

Rúben Neves, Diogo Jota and Joao Moutinho are going to bring Porto, errr, I mean Wolverhampton close to qualifying for the Europa League. I went a little more in-depth as to how Wolverhampton made the Premier League earlier this summer. Spoiler: the six proven Portuguese players might have something to do with it.

The jigsaw puzzle continues this season for Wolves who overhauled their roster with a ton of fresh talent. It will be a race for the team to mesh before they get too deep in the weeds of the Premier League season.

Wolverhampton legitimately brought eight new possible starters this season. The attacking half, led by Championship darling Neves, should be able to bring it all season. But who’s going to join Willy Boly in the back three this season?

New goalkeeper Rui Patrício joins the Wanderers after spending the first 12 years of his senior career at his youth club Sporting CP. The now-30-year-old brings a wealth of Champions League experience to Wolves who are gunning for an unprecedented rise in England’s top tier.

When Will Your Manager Be Fired

Nuno-Espírito-Santo-Wolverhampton

Nuno Espírito Santo arrived at Wolverhampton last year and brought them to Championship glory. The “bold” strategy of taking Portuguese players to the second tier of English football worked and they finished with style. But can they do it in the Premier League?

Wolves signed 12 new players. 12! Their Fulham-esque spending spree could cause some trouble like the Cottagers. Five of the new signees were on loan at Wolves during the title-winning campaign and made permanent this season to sway potential chemistry issues. (Okay four, sorry, Benik Afobe — enjoy Stoke.)

However, there are still a lot of fresh faces at the club who are expected to take starting positions. We’ll see if this is Wolves’ undoing this season.

Santo is clearly the man for the job, and I think he’ll ride out the season with or without a Top 10 finish.

Which Player Will A Bigger Club Poach?

Adama-Traore-Wolverhampton

There are plenty of candidates from Wolves. The problem is they all arrived this summer or were loaned to Wolves last year. And they were built to stay. So what’s the point of sending someone with the talent like Boly off if the entire club seems to be on board with this new experiment?

If there is someone on this team that will be bought by a bigger club down the road, it’s going to be former Middlesbrough striker Adama Traore. The 22-year-old is an absolute speedster and registered 10 assists in 28 matches in the Championship last year.

Traore spent his youth career at Barcelona and made it as far as Barcelona B. He was then transferred to Aston Villa before going to Middlesbrough the following season. The Spaniard has already made 37 appearances in the Premier League and is back after a year-long hiatus in the Championship.

Unknown to Household

Atletico Madrid loaned Diogo Jota to Wolverhampton last season and he dominated the Championship from the wing. Wolves officially signed him this summer and the 21-year-old will finally get week-by-week exposure in the Big Leagues.

Jota will be impossible to miss bombing down the wing. He netted a casual 17 goals last year with five assists. He also proved himself at Porto before leaving for England, tallying eight goals and five assists in 27 appearances.

He’s a natural at creating danger for courageous defenders who are pulled into tough positions on the pitch. Jota’s end product, as noted above, is already mature beyond his years, too.

Don’t be surprised if Jota finds his way into your fantasy Premier League team at least once this season. 

Relegation Odds

7/1 – Same as Southampton, and better than Crystal Palace, West Ham and Newcastle.

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