What to expect from Wolverhampton Wanderers next season?
Wolverhampton Wanderers won the Championship at a canter. The club from the West Midlands finished the season on 99 points and were promoted to the Premier League as deserved champions.
With huge financial backing behind them, Nuno Espirito Santo and his immensely talented squad will no doubt be setting themselves a high bar during the 2018/19 campaign.
So what exactly should we expect from Wolves? Obviously, aim number one will be ensuring they're still a Premier League side in twelve months time. That said, something tells me that their owners, Fosun International, and Chairman, Jeff Shi, will want to see The Wanderers go even further than that.
Pumping money into the beautiful game is something we're seeing with increased frequency. Manchester City started it all when Sheikh Mansour poured billions into their playing staff, stadium and training facilities. It has obviously worked out well for them so far. Wolves emulated that in the Championship. No doubt they'll spend big again this summer, with the brilliant Rui Patricio heavily linked with a move. Midfield powerhouse, William Carvalho, has also been rumoured with a sensational switch to Molineux. The spending power is evident. Wolves can compete with them all.
The praise should be laid on Espirito Santo's door. He's got Wolves playing an efficient, attractive style. The players all work hard for each other, they're well-drilled and organised; while also being able to create a chance from nothing. Managing big egos, particularly in England's second-tier is no easy task. The 44-year-old gaffer has coped with the big expectations and coped with them perfectly.
As they prepare for life back in the big-time, their ideologies, their mantra simply has to remain the same. The Premier League doesn't take any prisoners. Wolves' stars cannot afford to take one match lightly. They'll need to be at their brilliant best every single time they take to the field - particularly at home.
Their passionate fanbase will play a huge part in any success Wolves will have. No doubt they'll be their usual loud-and-proud selves over the next year, which is exactly what they'll need if they are to go one better than merely avoiding relegation. Molineux has to become a fortress. A place where every away team simply hates visiting.
The good news for Wolves is the fact that their squad is already Premier League calibre. Ruben Neves is simply sensational, keeping a tight grip on the Portugal international has to be priority number one. They'll be interest aplenty in his services no doubt, but he's the man that can make the difference in those tight-knit fixtures.
Another important positive for Wolves is the fact that they've managed so snap up three key loanees on a permanent basis. Benik Afobe and Willy Boly more than played their part in their Championship promotion push. However, the star of the show was Diogo Jota. He was on loan from Atletico Madrid. The 21-year-old starlet made them tick, scoring 17 league goals, while tacking on six assists. Securing this trio for a mere £33million has to be regarding as sensational business; particularly when selling clubs will know how cash-rich Wolves have become.
As previously alluded to, Wolves' aim will be to remain in the Premier League. However, don't be surprised to see Espirito Santo secure a comfortable mid-table finish. If they fly out of the blocks, I genuinely wouldn't bet against them finishing in the top ten. I'm never certain about a promoted teams' chance at remaining in the big-time in their first season, but their survival is an absolute certainty.