Manchester City face the new kids in town, Wolverhampton Wanderers, so in preparation for the match, I sat down with Thomas Baugh of Wolves Blog to get some perspective on Wolves!
Reeves: Other than Liverpool, I think Wolves had the busiest transfer window. How would you rate the business that took place this summer? Who do you think the best signing will be?
Thomas: I think Wolves did good business. Patricio and Moutinho should be no-brainers. Both bring high level experience and composure to the side, which is important in our first season back. Full-back Jonny Castro joined on loan from Atletico Madrid and gives us greater mobility down the left. We haven’t seen Belgian international Leander Dendoncker yet but he should eventually push hard for a place in midfield or defence.
The most exciting signing is Adama Traore from Middlesbrough, a raw talent but a player who looks to be improving all the time and can open doors for us with his rapid pace. He’ll likely be key to our success.
Reeves: Many people predicted Wolves to have a surprise season like Burnley did last year finishing in the top 6, what is your season prediction?
Thomas: I don’t think we’ll be anywhere near sixth. Midtable is realistic if our players can get into a rhythm, but personally I’d just like to see us survive with a bit of comfort and go from there. There’s a lot of potential in this Wolves team but it’s a sharp learning curve so I’m expecting a tough season.
Reeves: City has been linked with star Ruben Neves as a holding midfielder option. What do you think is a realistic price Wolves could be asking for/what would you like to get for him?
Thomas: Well we paid over £15 million for him in the Championship and his stock has soared since then, shining in the second tier and starting well in the Premier League. When you factor in that he’s still only 21 and has just signed a long term contract, I think you’re going to be talking mega bucks, particularly in the current market. I don’t want him to go so don’t want to entertain the figures, but I’d imagine you’d be in the £40-£50 million range at least.
Reeves: In my opinion, Wolves’ only weakness is their lack of top flight experience. Is there another weakness that could prevent Wolves from finishing where they should?
Thomas: We haven’t been as strong defensively as I’d hoped and if that doesn’t improve we’re going to find it difficult. With three at the back and two holding midfielders in Nuno’s preferred system, we’re setup to shut teams out and break forward when the opportunity presents itself. In possession, the team is very scientific and don’t commit loads of bodies forward so restricting the opposition to zeroes and ones is very important.
Reeves: What’s your prediction for the match?
Thomas: I’m hoping we can produce a big performance and be the first team to disrupt your progress, but realistically I have to predict a comfortable City win. Hopefully we don’t get the same treatment as Huddersfield, so maybe 3-1.
Thanks to Wolves Blog and Thomas Baugh for chatting with me! If you’re looking for my answers to City related questions check out their article!