Wolves stars will have less than three weeks to recover from 383-day season as boss Nuno Espirto Santo orders side to return to training on September 1
- Marathon 2019-20 season finally ended on Tuesday with defeat by Sevilla
- Europa League quarter-final loss ended their hopes of European qualification
- Wolves will begin their Premier League campaign on September 12
Nuno Espirito Santo has ordered Wolves back for training on September 1 – meaning his exhausted stars will have less than three weeks off after a 383-day season.
The club’s marathon 2019-20 finally ended on Tuesday when they lost their 59th game – the Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla in Duisburg that ended their hopes of a major trophy and Champions League qualification.
With the Premier League allowing only a 30-day grace period between clubs’ final European fixture and their first league one, Wolves must start again on September 12 – even though the majority of their rivals wrapped up their own seasons on July 26.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has ordered his players back for training on September 1
While there has been no specific instruction to Wolves players to avoid certain countries during their 19-day break, they have been given detailed travel advice and urged to use their common sense, with mandatory 14-day self-isolation rules in place for those returning from many countries, and coronavirus quarantine restrictions under constant review.
Wolves will not be involved in European football in 2020-21 after missing out on a Europa League spot on goal difference to Tottenham – but Nuno is believed to want up to four new players to improve a squad he believes needs fresh blood.
After the Sevilla defeat, the Portuguese coach said: ‘We need to make good decisions to allow us to continue going as everybody wants. We need players that can make us stronger, no doubt about it.’
Lucas Ocampos broke Wolves’ hearts as he secured Sevilla’s place in Europa League semis
Nuno is targeting a left-sided centre-back to possibly succeed Romain Saiss as first choice, an energetic central midfielder and a young centre-forward to offer back-up for Raul Jimenez. Wolves will also prioritise a left wing-back after Jonny suffered a serious knee injury against Olympiacos, leaving Ruben Vinagre as the only senior player for that position.
Nuno will hold talks with Wolves executive chairman Jeff Shi in the coming days, where the club hope they will be able to finalise new contracts for Nuno and his staff. The 46-year-old’s current deal at Molineux expires at the end of next season and he is admired across Europe, though Wolves are optimistic he will commit again after three hugely impressive seasons at the helm.
There may be offers for top scorer Jimenez and flying winger Adama Traore yet both are under contract for three more years and neither has yet pushed to leave. Wolves would demand high fees for both, which will be beyond most clubs in the post-pandemic world.
The Argentine attacker scored a delightful glancing header in the 88th minute for Sevilla
Wolves have been assessing domestic targets since the end of the campaign, while they were watching Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes regularly before lockdown. Yet history suggests Wolves will always look closely at Portuguese clubs and players when strengthening the squad: eight members of their first-team group are from Portugal, while French defender Willy Boly was signed from Porto.
Meanwhile, Wolves are believed to have landed a £10million windfall after Leeds and Fulham won promotion to the Premier League.
When Helder Costa was sold to Leeds and Ivan Cavaleiro to Fulham, clauses were included in the deals that guaranteed Wolves about £5m each per player if they helped their clubs escape the Championship. Leeds went up as champions while Fulham were promoted through the play-offs.
Wolves striker Raul Jimenez had his first-half penalty saved by Sevilla goalkeeper Bono