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First Game of the 2017/2018 Season

Norman Deeley

Dean Saunders's Press Officer
Feb 13, 2012
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A question for people much more knowledgeable than me. You have two transfer windows: you have a reasonable amount of money (say £10-15m) plus anything you bring in from sales. If you were head of recruitment, who would you bring in to mount a promotion/play-off challenge in 17/18, building a squad of say, 20 players? DW, this might be the basis of a blog post for you, but I'd really value some thoughtful, realistic analysis on here. Looking at the table - Huddersfield 4th, Leeds 6th, Blues 8th - it really can't be that difficult can it?
There are two challenges. Getting into the premier and staying there long term. To get there wolves need a better defensive 5. They also need a more influential midfield and to be more clinical I front of goal. That's about 6 new players.

When you get there another 4 or 5 would be required. 50 million in total
Its one thing to recruit good players its another to find the right blend as we have witnessed under both coaches this season. Have Wolves found their best balanced first eleven this season. No..
You just buy as good a player as you can afford and attract. In all positions. Money isn't a worry for us now.
You just buy as good a player as you can afford and attract. In all positions. Money isn't a worry for us now.

Yes, of course you do, but who? That's my question: if Thelwell fell under a bus and Dan took over, who'd be on the shopping list?
Yes, of course you do, but who? That's my question: if Thelwell fell under a bus and Dan took over, who'd be on the shopping list?

We have been crying out for a player who can drop off a striker and link through the midfield for an eternity, so news today that Reading are preparing a bid for Jordan Mutch should alert us.
Signing Costa permanently should be high on the agenda, he has comfortably been our most creative player this season. I have faith that Dicko and Caveleiro will come good and am happy with Bod, Bright, Graham and Zyro as back up. I wouldn't be too concerned if we didn't sign any forward players in all honesty.

The midfield is a whole different matter, it is pretty awful technically apart from Saiss and Price and I don't think the latter is good enough although I would be happy for him to stick around as back up, along with Edwards. I think our forwards and defence would improve drastically if we can get the right 3 in midfield. We desperately need 2-3 good players to control games, technical enough to feed our front 3 and retain possession and tactically astute enough to protect the defence.

Our defence is woeful, there is no leadership and organisation. I think Iorfa could be good enough surrounded by the right players and Hause worthy backup but we need a new central defensive partnership for sure although I am hoping Williamson will come back strong and fill one of the spots. Left back is, and has been awful for quite a while now, it speaks volumes that Ward has probably been our best left back in the last 10 years.

I am happy enough with Ikeme but either want someone who can displace him or at the very least be better than Lonergan.

So a goalkeeper, central defender or 2 depending on Williamson, a left back and 2-3 quality central midfielders would see us looking very strong.

I see no place for Lonergan, Silvio, Stearman, EEL, Coady, Saville, Wallace, Tex, John, Mason and Gladon. I would quite happily add Doherty and Batth to the list but I am sure they will stay and aren't too bad as backup providing they don't play very often!

The question is who should be the targets, that is very tricky because to a degree it is who becomes available and can we attract lower Premiership/elite Championship standard players struggling near the bottom of the league.
We need so, so much work all over the place that it's hard to think where to start. If we can assume a degree of an open chequebook - we aren't going to be attracting players who are currently starting for Premier League teams, but we should be able to look at their fringe players and have a go at signing players from most clubs in this division - then we'll start with going right down the spine. I don't think Ikeme is good enough long term for us (he's declining rather than improving now), we know about our woes at centre half for the last 18 months, central midfield hasn't looked balanced all season and we can't get a goal out of any of our strikers at the moment. So you want to be looking at a mix of hardened experience in English football - the club seem to think this is a prerequisite now - and potential to grow in the same way that Kightly/Jarvis did with us.

GK: John Ruddy was linked a few weeks ago by some supposedly ITK Norwich fans...in which time he's actually won his place back in their team. So I'm sceptical whether that is really going to happen. *If* Liverpool go and buy another keeper in the summer, which is quite possible as Mignolet clearly has no future there and Karius has been awful so far, I might test their resolve for a permanent deal for Danny Ward. He'll be 24 by the start of next season which is too old to be sitting around on the bench or as third choice. I'd still be interested in Emi Martinez but it doesn't seem as if he wants to go, he seems content enough playing League Cup games for Arsenal which is up to him I suppose.

CH: Same answer I gave on the January transfer window thread right at the start, James Tarkowski. He's not managed to break into Burnley's team in any meaningful way as they're settled at the back with Mee and Keane and Dyche is not one for changing the team around if he doesn't have to. He was outstanding for Brentford in this league, he's commanding, better on the ball by some way than anyone else we've got at the back and having only just turned 24 he could come here and be our lynchpin for years. If we want two centre halves (which is perfectly understandable) then Dani Ayala is currently in and out of Middlesbrough's team and is very much proven in the Championship.

CM: We're so desperate for some footballing ability in here. Saiss can't do it all on his own and he's too often too deep for his passing to really hurt teams (we probably need to look at that as well, but that's a tactical issue that's for another time). As has been said before by more than one person, you can get away with one of Coady/Edwards in a three man midfield. Not both of them. It's just a massive void of technical ability. Given that Dave has scored more this season than I fancy Coady to get for the remainder of his professional career, it's an easy choice. I really rate Teddy Bishop at Ipswich, lovely footballer. I'd also be interested in Ryan Woods and, depending whether Wednesday go up or not and how that affects their targets, Kieran Lee. Tom Carroll needs a fresh start away from Spurs as he's now behind Harry Winks in the pecking order, he has the ability to run the show in this division. Some are sold on Conor Hourihane but he leaves me a bit cold, Henri Lansbury is too much of a cock for me to actively want him here, as good as he can be when he's arsed.

ST: What I'd give for Nouha Dicko of 2014/15. It might still happen for him (he wasn't *that* bad on Saturday) but he's some way off at the moment and we can't wait forever. Britt Assombalonga would be a quality choice if we were trying to go like for like, he seems to be over his injuries now and his record speaks for itself, once again only just turned 24. I'd be keeping an eye on Dominic Solanke's contract situation at Chelsea and I wouldn't be averse to giving Peter Crouch a one year deal for next season, he's looked after himself well, he couldn't run 15 years ago so he hasn't lost any pace and I could see him having a real Iwelumo-style effect on our squad.

Of course, the work wouldn't end there. We're absolutely crying out for a left back, it's incredible that a club of our size has gone literally an entire year playing a shite right back there. Charlie Taylor would be my main target although there'd likely be Premier League competition for him - failing that, Stephen Kingsley has impressed me for Swansea and isn't guaranteed a game there. We need to do everything we can to persuade Helder Costa to stay - as far as I know the deal is agreed with Benfica, but it's going to be getting him on board with spending another year minimum in this league.

All the crap needs to go, Lonergan, Ebanks-Landell, Doherty, Saville, Wallace, Henry, Coady and Gladon should have no future here, I don't expect any of John, Stearman, Teixeira or Silvio (farewell, sweet prince) to be here next year, and the likes of Mason, Bodvarsson, Hause, Batth and Price are very much on notice for the next five months, if they can't step up then they can do one as well. Plus Ikeme if we do end up buying a first team keeper, we won't need him, Burgoyne and Flatt can be the backup.

A lot to do, doubtless not everyone will agree with my choices but that's the way I'd approach it.
I'd agree with most of that DW. Assuming we are staying British I'd like to think if there was a chance of James McCarthur or Jordon Mitch from Palace we'd go after them.

I like Hourihane and also Winnall and I'd try and tempt Barnsley for both of them. I don't think we'd get MaGuire from Hull but if there was a chance I'd go after him too.

I like Izzy Brown on loan at Rotherham from Chelsea but not sure he'd come here as he's highly rated by them and I'm also a fan of Bamford.

But most of all we need better coaches throughout the club to instill good systems that work. I'd be looking at the recently departed Paul Mitchell from Spurs (ex-Soton) to set up and run a proper youth system and try and work with Lambert at setting up a system for bringing through youth team players whilst maintaining the philosophy he wants.
Can't disagree with many of these suggestions, and have to hope that Thelwell's dossiers include a lot of these names.

The good news, I think, is that it won't be too hard to shift a lot of the crap. Post-bomb squad, the club's been quite good at sticking to shorter contracts, so come the end of the season almost all of the Jackett-era players (with the notable exceptions of Coady, Doherty, and now Edwards, though he's now justifying his place and new contract) will be either cut loose or in the same position Henry's found himself this year, ie, de facto had his contract ended early by being sent out somewhere, anywhere, on loan until his contract ends. We can afford to have them kick about in the U23s, but I think Lambert's very much aware of the morale issues that can arise from that, especially when some of the players being forced out have been central figures in the squad over the last few seasons.
Grant Leadbitter could be an option to add experience and leadership to the midfield. He will struggle to regain his place at Middlesbrough.
McArthur is way out of our reach surely? Good Premier League player.

I'd like Ben Pearson from Preston.
I'd like to see us push the boat out a bit and make a statement by making a big offer for someone like Assombalonga or Tarkowski who are proven as very god players in this division. There are surely loads of central midfielders we could sign who would so a better job than Coady too.
I kinda hope that we've got a few more Saiss / Cavalerio signings lined up. It's a shame we won't get tex / silvio but it seems they aren't considered good enough
I kinda hope that we've got a few more Saiss / Cavalerio signings lined up. It's a shame we won't get tex / silvio but it seems they aren't considered good enough

We have got Silvio though...We bought him from Atletico Madrid on a one year deal and the club has a second year option. We should play him as much as possible and extend to year two with a view to offering another contract as I rate him from what I've seen of him
I'd be tempted by trying to get Jordan Morris from Seattle Sounders. He is MLS rookie of the year and only likely to improve. He is from Seattle though so getting him out of home town club might be tricky.
Its worth noting the Leeds centre half Pontus Janssen only joined them on a seasons loan from Torino, so Wolves could step in with a permanent deal on that one. Always nice to upset Leeds.