What next for Wolves? The challenges facing Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor

·3-min read

Wolves are looking for a new manager after the shock announcement boss Nuno Espirito Santo will leave at the end of the season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the challenges Nuno’s successor will face.

Rediscover their identity

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The new boss – former Benfica manager Bruno Lage is the early favourite – will have to imprint his own identity on the side.

After three seasons of undeniable progress, Wolves struggled as they suffered serious injuries and a loss of form, with Nuno trying to modify their style this term.

He had previously brought a clear and concise identity to Wolves and a bottom-half finish falls below pre-season expectations. The future manager will need to act fast to stop any slide.

Refresh the midfield

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Vitinha has impressed when he has featured for Wolves (Rui Vieira/PA).

This season has seen Joao Moutinho’s powers wane, for all his experience and class.

Portugal Under-21 international Vitinha has shone when he has been given a chance and the 21-year-old could be Moutinho’s heir apparent.

Ruben Neves has also slipped below the exceptional standards he has set in the previous two years.

Resolve Adama Traore’s future

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Talks with Traore were put on hold before Christmas and the winger is likely to remain key to any future plans.

He has two years left on his current deal and, before it was announced he was leaving, Nuno said talks appeared to be progressing.

Traore has come on considerably under Nuno, after arriving from Middlesbrough for £18million in 2018, and his end product has improved, even if it remains inconsistent.

Ensure greater squad depth

Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Matt Doherty was sold to Tottenham last summer (Ian Walton/PA).

Nuno liked working with a small squad and it came back to haunt him this season.

Injuries to Jonny and Raul Jimenez came after selling Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota to Tottenham and Liverpool respectively.

To say their troubles this season were down to the absence of Jimenez would be wrong as Jota, Doherty and Jonny were so key to the way they played and represented much of their threat.

Give Fabio Silva time

Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League – Goodison Park
Fabio Silva cost Wolves an initial £8million from Porto (Peter Powell/PA).

Striker Silva, who only cost an initial £8million, has taken time to adjust following his move from Porto, which will ultimately cost the club a record £35million.

The 18-year-old has not been able to fill the void left by Jimenez’s absence, scoring four times in the Premier League, while Real Sociedad loanee Willian Jose has also struggled after his January arrival.

Jimenez will thankfully return next season after fracturing his skull at Arsenal in November but Silva must be given time to show he can be a long-term star at Molineux.

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