The Premier League is finally back on the 11th August and with that in mind, we’ve done a season preview of every club and their chances for the upcoming season. Here, we’ve taken a look at Gary O’Neil’s Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Last season: 13th
Top Scorer: Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence (6)
Transfers In: Matheus Cunha – Atletico Madrid (£44m), Emilio Ballard-Matthews – Watford (free transfer), Boubacar Traore – Metz (£9.5m), Leo Lopes – Grasshopper (undisclosed), Matt Doherty – Atletico Madrid (free transfer), Tom King – Northampton Town (free transfer)
Transfers Out: Ruben Neves – Al Hilal (£55m), Nathan Collins – Brentford (£27m), Conor Coady – Leicester City (£7.5m), Raul Jimenez – Fulham (£6.4m), Diego Costa – released, Joao Moutinho – released, Adama Traore – released, Nathan Collins – Brentford (£23m), Luke Matheson – Bolton Wanderers (free transfer), Hayao Kawabe – Standard Liege (undisclosed), Ryan Giles – Luton Town (undisclosed), Matija Sarkic – Millwall (undisclosed)
First game: Manchester United (A)
It’s all doom and gloom at Wolverhampton Wanderers – and a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet.
Not only have key players such as Ruben Neves, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez all departed the club, Julen Lopetegui has left Wolves after a summer of unrest at Molineux.
Former Bournemouth man Gary O’Neil has been named as the replacement, but the Spaniard had long been courted and was deemed a coup after arriving at Molineux last season, where he lifted Wolves from the bottom of the Premier League and to the sanctuary of 13th.
The club’s financial issues mean resources have been limited however, and Lopetegui has departed amid broken promises of how much money would be available to spend. Now, O’Neil will need to repeat his heroics of last season when he kept Bournemouth in the top flight.
Wolves have struggled to get near the seventh-place finishes that followed promotion in 2018 under Nuno Espirito Santo, but 2022/23 was especially forgettable, bringing their lowest points tally in that time. Amid the turmoil surround the club heading into the new season, fans won’t be expecting O’Neil to pull up any trees with the squad in its current configuration, and top-flight survival would be considered a successful season.
Despite the doom and gloom, no team has kept more Premier League clean sheets in front of their own fans in 2023, and that first-choice defence remains. The need for goals is still the biggest concern – in each of the past three seasons, no Wolves player has scored more than six in all competitions. However, the pedigree of player in attack is also impressive.
Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence are both capable of causing problems against most teams in the division – although the latter’s future remains uncertain at the time of writing – while Matheus Cunha and Matheus Nunes are both fully-fledged internationals and Goncalo Guedes could be like a new signing if he can turn his Wolves future around after being loaned out to Benfica in January.
O’Neil will need to hit the ground running, but getting to know the ins and outs of his squad just a few days before the start of the season is almost an impossible task. Ultimately, Wolves have enough quality to survive, and they will be keen to avoid the sort of ignominious slide suffered by Leicester City last season.