Wolves missed the chance to strengthen their squad on transfer deadline day and the inquest among supporters as to what went wrong has only just begun.
A day that promised so much ended with fans directing their frustrations at chairman Jeff Shi and owners Fosun after another window in which the head coach wasn’t sufficiently backed.
Following the departures of Rafa Mir, Owen Otasowie, Patrick Cutrone and Morgan Gibbs-White – with the latter two exiting on loan for the campaign – the club now only have 18 fit outfield players and there are concerns over how the squad will cope.
“They needed some new players and fans are really unhappy about that, so if results don’t go our way I think supporters will aim their frustration towards the board first rather than the head coach.
“A lot of Wolves fans, if you ask them, will say that apart from our first window after we were promoted to the Premier League, a lot of them have been very underwhelming.
“We haven’t had a window where we signed three of four top-quality players.”
It looked for all the world as though Portugal international Renato Sanches would be heading to Molineux on deadline day, only for the deal to fall through with Wolves and his club Lille unable to reach an agreement.
Another option was Boubacar Kamara, the versatile 21-year-old from Marseille who would have been a useful option for Lage in defence and midfield, though the Frenchman was not keen on the move.
Such was the desperation that Lage even made a last-ditch bid for Cardiff City striker Kieffer Moore, with former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy – now in charge of the Welsh side – said to be unimpressed by his former club’s attempt to poach his goalscorer so late in the day.
Portuguese talent Francisco Trincao did arrive on loan from Barcelona earlier this summer, signing a season-long loan from Barcelona with the possibility of a permanent deal at the end of the season.
And the arrival of Colombian centre-back Yerson Mosquera should go some way to tightening things up at the back, but Dave believes it’s the expectation that left so many Wolves fans disappointed.
“There has been a little bit of frustration after the transfer window mainly because the big rumours never really materialised,” he says.
“We did most of our business very early but the manager kept saying that we want top players and we never saw them come in.
“So a lot of fans are disappointed with the window overall, although if you go player-by-player, we have brought improvement into the squad but not enough numbers.
😕 “If I was in his position, I wouldn’t be happy with how this window ended.”@daveazzopardi from @TalkingWolves says boss Bruno Lage has every right to be disappointed in #wwfc's transfer activity 🐺#ByFansForFans 🤝 pic.twitter.com/abvxjxE1hg
— FansBet (@FansBet) September 3, 2021
“If anything we’ve got a smaller squad than what we started the window with. You’d assume Bruno would be disappointed as he said many times he wanted to strengthen the side.
“He wanted two good players in every position, which he hasn’t got. We play a system at the moment with two central midfielders and we’ve only got three in the whole squad.
“It’s the same with the strikers; one injury and it puts question marks over some of the positions in the squad.
“If I was him I wouldn’t be happy with how the transfer window ended.”
The deadline day failures mean that Shi, technical director Scott Sellars and the recruitment team have had to accept defeat for now and Lage will be asked to work with the hand he’s been dealt – not ideal when you’re without a win and not even found the net in 270 minutes of football.
However, it appears that the Molineux faithful are prepared to back their manager as they look to bounce back from a disappointing campaign last year.
After two consecutive top-seven finishes and some memorable European excursions, the club finished the campaign 13th in the Premier League with a handful of major players struggling with injuries.
To top it all off, Nuno Espirito Santo left the club after four years in which he led the team from Championship mediocrity to English football’s top-flight.
“It’s zero points from three games but it was three tough games for Wolves to start the season,” says Dave.
“But I tell you now, all the performances have been really decent and Wolves fans are content with it.
“If it gets to the point where it’s another three games and we haven’t picked up any more points, that’s when we can start being a bit more concerned.
“We’ve dominated games, had a lot of the ball, had so many shots, and still we haven’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“So fingers crossed we’ll see Bruno Lage really start to put his stamp on this team and get some goals and some wins.
“Now we’ve seen the final squad for the season and now we’ve seen a bit of what we can expect under Bruno, I think Wolves fans are excited.
“If the players can stay fit, we’ve got a really good chance of having a decent finish to the season.
“With the style of football we’re playing we’ll get some memorable games and memorable results this season.
“I won’t say we’ll be pushing for top seven again but with the squad we’ve got now we can finish top half.”
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